Study: How US sewage plants can remove medicines from wastewater
A study of seven wastewater treatment plants in the Eastern United States reveals a mixed record when it comes to removing medicines such as antibiotics and antidepressants.
The research points to two treatment methods—granular activated carbon and ozonation—as being particularly promising. Each technique reduced the concentration of a number of pharmaceuticals, including certain antidepressants and antibiotics, in water by more than 95%, the scientists' analysis found.
Activated sludge, a common treatment process that uses microorganisms to break down organic contaminants, serves an important purpose in wastewater treatment but was much less effective at destroying persistent drugs such as antidepressants and antibiotics.