Removing harmful medical residues at the source

Most of the challenges we face in purifying our water are handled at wastewater locations or drinking water installations. What if we could clean wastewater directly at the source? For one of the growing problems – the presence of medical residues in our surface water – we can. A game-changing solution!

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As the global population grows and ages, the use of medication is also increasing. And a small – but nevertheless harmful - part of it ends up in our water. Even in a small country like The Netherlands, 190 tons of prescribed medicines are discharged into surface waters every year. This threatens overall water quality, our drinking water and our health: it has been proven that our bodies can even build up antibiotics’ resistance through all the residues we ingest every day through our drinking water. And the concentration of medical residues in the environment is expected to increase dramatically in the future. Four parties decided to join forces in search for a solution.

Synergy of technologies

Together with Van Remmen UV, a Dutch Water Authority, and a Dutch hospital, we researched removing harmful medical residues from water during a two-year pilot. Using our Ozone technology and a UV-solution from Van Remme, a new process was born: an Advanced Oxidation Process (AOP), called MediOxi. It is the synergy of Ozone and UV that makes the combined technologies efficient instead of two stand-alone applications.

MediOxi removes 80% of medical residues

Instead of using the application at a wastewater treatment plant, we treat the water directly at a hospital site: right where the medical residues enter the sewage. Micropollutants are broken down with hydroxyl radicals. Ozone is injected in the hospital wastewater, where it reacts with the pharmaceuticals directly. Then the UV-C light is applied, for a secondary breakdown of the UV-C sensitive pharmaceuticals and disinfection. As for the result? A removal of no less than 80% of medical residues from the hospitals’ wastewater. With this ‘at the source’- approach, the inflow of medical residues at the wastewater treatment plant is 6 % lower than without, and costs can be reduced.