Micropollutants in the aquatic enviroment

research and solutions



The cooperative project SAUBER+ characterises and assesses risks to consumers and the environment caused by the discharge of pollutants and pathogens from health care facilities, nursing homes, hospices and clinics into the water cycle, and will ultimately establish a risk management strategy. Unlike emissions from hospital wastewaters, pharmaceuticals and pathogens discharged by other health care facilities have not yet been sufficiently investigated. Demographic change and rising life expectancy, which are usually associated with increased medication, emphasise the importance of this issue.

Main areas of focus:

  • Identifying and assessing all significant point sources based upon compound-specific and establishment-specific emission data
  • Treating wastewater streams using a wide range of state-of-the-art technologies: membrane bioreactor, ozonation, UV irradiation and activated carbon adsorption. Along with these investigations, the technologies applied will undergo further development and innovation in order to optimise results and applicability.
  • Communicating the major project outcomes to the users as well as to the staff of the health facilities. The content and format will be prepared involving the target persons or their representatives and adapted to their specific situation, such as the level of care and supervision needed.
  • Using case studies, developing measures that reduce the emission of pharmaceuticals and pathogens into the aquatic environment. These measures will be tailored to the specific needs of the facilities, catchment areas and target groups. Based on this, general recommendations will be made for concepts and technologies to treat wastewater from health care facilities separately.


Dr.-Ing. Laurence Palmowski
Institut für Siedlungswasserwirtschaft der RWTH Aachen
Tel.: +49 241 80 91531
E-Mail: palmowski@isa.rwth-aachen.de