Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Purified wastewater from hospitals

05.12.2007
Hospital wastewater is contaminated with drugs that can pollute the environment. A newly developed system deals with the problem at source, directly treating and purifying wastewater from the toilets before it ever reaches the sewage plant.

Antibiotics, cytostatics and psychotropics – many are the drugs swallowed by hospital patients. A certain amount of these substances is excreted and finds its way into the sewers. Traces of them can still be detected in the water even after treatment in the sewage plant, as they are not biologically degradable. Experts are not yet fully able to predict the impact on the environment. However, there are numerous indications that the feminization of fish, the diminishing effect of antibiotics, and even a reduced sperm count among young men can be attributed to these residues in the water.

In a joint project with the Duisburg Institute of Energy and Environmental Technology IUTA, researchers at the Fraunhofer Institute for Environmental, Safety and Energy Technology UMSICHT have developed a means of treating hospital wastewater right where it is produced – ensuring that toxic substances never even reach the municipal water network. The outstanding feature of the system is that, rather than tapping the hospital’s entire wastewater stream, it concentrates on partial streams such as the toilet sewage from the oncology department. This tends to be particularly highly contaminated due to the medication administered to patients in the course of chemotherapy, for example. Other wastewater such as that of the hospital laundry or the kitchen does not flow unnecessarily through the system – the drugs are thus concentrated in small quantities by volume. “The method is extremely effective,” says Fraunhofer UMSICHT project manager Bettina Becker. “Following treatment, over 99 percent of the tested substances have been dispelled and can no longer be detected in an analysis.” The researchers tested “wastewater” to which cyto-statics, antibiotics, psychotropic drugs and pain-killers had been added. After cleansing, it had completely lost the toxic and genetically harmful effect.

This is how the method works: First of all, the suspended solids are deposited in a sedimentation tank. Then the water passes into the reaction container, where ultraviolet light, hydrogen peroxide or ozone produce radicals that destroy the active drug ingredients. A prototype of the pilot plant, which was planned and built with funds from the BMWi, is currently installed at the IUTA. Hospitals would be well advised to install such compact plants in the wastewater system in future. There might even be a financial incentive for doing so: Surcharges which hospitals would otherwise have to pay for heavy contamination of wastewater may no longer need to be levied.

Press Office | alfa
Further information:
http://www.fraunhofer.de

More articles from Ecology, The Environment and Conservation:

nachricht Reducing household waste with less energy
18.01.2017 | FIZ Karlsruhe – Leibniz-Institut für Informationsinfrastruktur GmbH

nachricht Joint research project on wastewater for reuse examines pond system in Namibia
19.12.2016 | Technische Universität Darmstadt

All articles from Ecology, The Environment and Conservation >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: How gut bacteria can make us ill

HZI researchers decipher infection mechanisms of Yersinia and immune responses of the host

Yersiniae cause severe intestinal infections. Studies using Yersinia pseudotuberculosis as a model organism aim to elucidate the infection mechanisms of these...

Im Focus: Interfacial Superconductivity: Magnetic and superconducting order revealed simultaneously

Researchers from the University of Hamburg in Germany, in collaboration with colleagues from the University of Aarhus in Denmark, have synthesized a new superconducting material by growing a few layers of an antiferromagnetic transition-metal chalcogenide on a bismuth-based topological insulator, both being non-superconducting materials.

While superconductivity and magnetism are generally believed to be mutually exclusive, surprisingly, in this new material, superconducting correlations...

Im Focus: Studying fundamental particles in materials

Laser-driving of semimetals allows creating novel quasiparticle states within condensed matter systems and switching between different states on ultrafast time scales

Studying properties of fundamental particles in condensed matter systems is a promising approach to quantum field theory. Quasiparticles offer the opportunity...

Im Focus: Designing Architecture with Solar Building Envelopes

Among the general public, solar thermal energy is currently associated with dark blue, rectangular collectors on building roofs. Technologies are needed for aesthetically high quality architecture which offer the architect more room for manoeuvre when it comes to low- and plus-energy buildings. With the “ArKol” project, researchers at Fraunhofer ISE together with partners are currently developing two façade collectors for solar thermal energy generation, which permit a high degree of design flexibility: a strip collector for opaque façade sections and a solar thermal blind for transparent sections. The current state of the two developments will be presented at the BAU 2017 trade fair.

As part of the “ArKol – development of architecturally highly integrated façade collectors with heat pipes” project, Fraunhofer ISE together with its partners...

Im Focus: How to inflate a hardened concrete shell with a weight of 80 t

At TU Wien, an alternative for resource intensive formwork for the construction of concrete domes was developed. It is now used in a test dome for the Austrian Federal Railways Infrastructure (ÖBB Infrastruktur).

Concrete shells are efficient structures, but not very resource efficient. The formwork for the construction of concrete domes alone requires a high amount of...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

12V, 48V, high-voltage – trends in E/E automotive architecture

10.01.2017 | Event News

2nd Conference on Non-Textual Information on 10 and 11 May 2017 in Hannover

09.01.2017 | Event News

Nothing will happen without batteries making it happen!

05.01.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

A big nano boost for solar cells

18.01.2017 | Power and Electrical Engineering

Glass's off-kilter harmonies

18.01.2017 | Materials Sciences

Toward a 'smart' patch that automatically delivers insulin when needed

18.01.2017 | Life Sciences

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>