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Micropollutants are released from products that are used daily, such as industrial chemicals, pharmaceuticals and personal care products (PPCPs), pesticides, and hormones. Residue from such products appears in almost all water bodies.

Hazardous micropollutants, formed during domestic usage of electronics, hygiene and cosmetic products, textiles and pharmaceuticals, usually reach the wastewater treatment plants (WWTPs). Various other sources of these micropollutants are surface run-offs from agricultural areas, industrial discharge and stormwater run-offs from the cities.

Investigations have attributed 70% of the pharmaceutical residue found in the wastewater to household use; another 20% is attributed to livestock farming. Of the remaining 10%, 5% is attributed to hospital effluent, and the other 5% is due to run-off from non-specific sources. However, these figures could vary highly in different parts of various countries.

Whatever the source of these micropollutants, they can reach the water resources as they are persistent and non-biodegradable. Which means that when realized into nature, these contaminants pass through the soil and reach the groundwater. Even if these compounds reach WWTPs, a large percentage is released along with wastewater effluents and ultimately reaches the surface water.

The current biological WWTPs are not explicitly designed to eliminate the micropollutants; discharges from these WWTPs constitute a significant point source of these chemicals in the environment.

The prevalence and continuous input of these organic micropollutants into water resources, inclusive of groundwater, is an ever-expanding environmental problem. Many of the micropollutants have been determined to be highly hazardous threats to animals, aquatic species as well as human beings.

Another alarming issue is the increase of antibiotic-resistant organisms in the environment, which is an added risk to the microbial ecosystem. The vigorous usage of antibiotics to improve the health of humans as well as animals has resulted in antibiotic-resistant genes in various environmental matrices. As a result of population growth and increase of medication of livestock, the release of micropollutants into the ecosystem is anticipated to increase in the future.

To reduce micropollutants, an additional barrier of advanced water treatment methods should be added to conventional WWTPs.

Ozone is a well-known powerful oxidizing and disinfectant agent, and it has been used historically to disinfect drinking water and to remove colour, taste, and odour.

Ozone directly reacts with electron-rich sites, such as carbon-to-carbon double bonds, tertiary amines and phenols.

Including ozonation step to the wastewater treatment process,  to eliminate organic micropollutants, resistance to biological degradation has become a growing need.

 

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System design and treatment conditions must be outlined and explicitly determined for each application. Contact our ozone specialist to outline your future-proofed ozone solution. 

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Why ozone for pharmaceutical residues challenge? 

  • In oxidation reactions, ozone degrades most of the pharmaceutical compounds
  • Enhances performance and increases lifetime of treatment components 
  • Ozonation can be employed as an additional treatment step to enable trace pharmaceuticals to be removed effectively from wastewater effluents