Reducing PPCP levels in treating wastewater for reclaimed use

Pharmaceuticals and Personal Care Products (PPCPs) are an ongoing concern when treating wastewater for reclaimed use. Kevin Westerling's September 2016 article summarizes his interview with water expert Wes Lobo, who gives an analysis of 5 common industrial water issues.

Westerling's interview summary lists several existing technologies to treat PPCPs: activated carbon, UF/MO/RO, and advanced oxidation. He also notes the problems in treating PPCPs.

Scientists exploring PPCPs in wastewater

A closer look at activated carbon - one way to treat PPCPs in wastewater.

An early white paper (1992) on the use of activated carbon as a means of adsorption for treating PPCPs reveals that it has been used as an adsorbent for hundreds of years -- adsorption being the process where "molecules of a dissolved compound collect on and adhere to the surface of an adsorbent solid" and that "adsorption occurs when the attractive forces at the carbon surface overcome the attractive forces of the liquid."

Complications in addressing PPCPs

Returning to Westerling's interview with Lobo: While treatments exist, the interview states, there are various factors to consider. Depending upon the level of PPCPs, not all wastewaters are easily measured or treated to ensure that the water is safe for reclaiming; Also, the article adds, there are financial implications and funding issues.

The NEIWPCC and ongoing concerns about PPCPs in wastewater

Meanwhile, The New England Interstate Water Pollution Control Commission (NEIWPCC) makes an important observation: Although no human health effect studies actually exist which prove that long-term exposure to pharmaceuticals in water have adverse affects on humans, wastewater facilities must treat PPCPs in wastewater for reclaimed use.

The subject is far from conclusive. For further reading, here are some review papers on PPCP removal in the treatment of wastewater.

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If you have questions about how to lower PPCP levels -- or any other wastewater issue -- please contact us. Our team of experts will find the best solution available.

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