Águas do Algarve tests ways to remove drugs from waste water

Águas do Algarve, the region’s water company, is involved in a project to test ways to effectively remove “pharmaceutical components” from waste water.

The project is entitled “Impetus – improving current barriers for controlling pharmaceutical compounds in urban wastewater treatment plants” – and is part of the LIFE programme, described as the EU’s funding instrument for the environment and climate action.

Initial tests are underway to discover the most effective ways to remove these components before the final tests are carried out at the ETAR Faro Noroeste (water treatment plant), located near Faro Airport.

So far, different kinds of chemical coagulants and activated charcoal have been tested due to their efficiency in removing the drugs, their costs and their minimal energy consumption.

The main goal of the project is to reduce the environmental impact of the pharmaceutical components that are released into the environment via waste water and which can be found in all kinds of medicines, personal hygiene products, pesticides and other products, causing “serious changes to the metabolism of living beings”.

The project is coordinated by the National Laboratory of Civil Engineering alongside Águas do Algarve and is also backed by the University of Algarve, the University of Lisbon, EHS – Environmental and Regional Development Consulting, Águas de Lisboa and Vale do Tejo and Águas do Tejo Atlântico.

The total budget amounts to €1.49 million, with community funding covering €855,600.

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