Current wastewater treatment methods and emerging technologies with a focus on removal of pharmaceuticals.
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The global consumption of pharmaceuticals is increasing, and in recent years there has been a growing concern surrounding the release of pharmaceuticals to the environment. Wastewater treatment plants (WWTP) have been identified as one of the sources for this release. Since this is a more recent concern, the WWTPs were not built for the removal of pharmaceuticals. This study evaluates the removal efficiency (RE) for pharmaceuticals in WWTPs with differing treatment technologies to find the most efficient treatment. Emerging technologies are presented and compared to the established processes. A review literature was conducted with the search terms “occurrence pharmaceuticals wastewater” focusing on newer articles published between 2016 and 2020. The review showed a correlation between the RE of pharmaceuticals and the level of treatment in use. Primary, secondary, and tertiary treatment showed an average RE of 16.3%, 40.1%, and 61.6%, respectively. The emerging technologies were found to have a RE of over 90%. Effluents from WWTPs are a source for the release of pharmaceuticals in the environment, and upgrades to the treatment processes are necessary to ensure a better removal.
Master's thesis in Environmental Engineering