Waste water from hospitals can become harmless

Waste water from hospitals contains residues of medicine and micro-organisms. Some of the matter escapes the water purification plants and ends in nature where they may cause problems in the water environment. Tests now reveal that residues of antibiotics and other medicine can be removed by means of a compact, biological purification plant.
This is the result of a technology project in which Grundfos and DHI (Danish Institute of Water and Environment), supported by the Danish Nature Protection Agency, cleansed waste water from Copenhagen University Hospital, which uses some 1,000 different kinds of medicine for patients. After purification the waste water did not contain any bacteria resistant to antibiotics and the content of medicine was reduced to a level below the limit value of the water environment, being good enough for bathing.

Problems are removed
Based on this test, Academy Engineer, Karin Dahlgren from the Agency thinks it would be natural to consider waste water in a time when a large number of new hospitals are being built and old hospitals renewed.
- Even though we have good purification plants and waste water from the hospitals is under control, there are almost always some matters escaping to nature. In light of this, it is encouraging for us to have a method of solving the problem by purification, said Ms Dahlgren.
The method is even so cheap that it pays to purify all waste water from hospitals. The other option would be to cleanse only about one percent of the total amount of waste water, that is only the part made up of patients’ urine. This would be more expensive, as it would require special toilets and additional waste pipes for separating the urine from the rest of the waste water.

New market for Grundfos
According to Segment Director, Søren Nøhr Bak, the result of the test offers possibilities of a new market for Grundfos BioBooster – the purification plant removing all resistant bacteria and most of the medicine residues. The remaining residues of medicine were removed by means of active carbon or by oxidation in a test carried out by DHI.
- The Grundfos Group possesses the necessary competence for removing the last residues of medicine. By combining them with the bio-membrane technology in BioBooster, we are able to offer a complete solution, rendering the waste water of hospitals so clean that it can be led directly into nature, said Mr Nøhr Bak.
Other decisive advantages by Grundfos BioBooster are that the waste water becomes odourless and the plant is small enough to be easily placed by a hospital, where there is often lack of space.