John Libbey Eurotext

Environnement, Risques & Santé


Pharmaceuticals in the environment and their treatment in wastewater treatment plants Volume 17, supplement 1, April 2018

Université de Limoges CBRS2, rue du Dr Marcland 87000 Limoges France
* Tirés à part
  • Key words: drugs, environment, release, treatment, impact
  • DOI : 10.1684/ers.2017.1126
  • Page(s) : 47-58
  • Published in: 2018

Human consumption of pharmaceuticals results in the finding of drug residues in all environmental matrices: surface water, groundwater, and soils, at concentrations ranging from μg/L to ng/L. The panel of molecules used, the variability of their chemical properties their biodegradability, generate problems of persistence, the risks for human health or for the environment remain to be evaluated precisely. Urban and hospital effluents collect these molecules to wastewater treatment plants that have not been designed to eliminate them. However, sorption or biodegradation phenomena make it possible to obtain an overall efficiency, for the high performance STEUs, of approximately 50% from the pharmaceutical flows. However, some molecules such as carbamazepine or diclofenac remain refractory to conventional treatment processes and will be found in the discharges of the plants and then in the receiving environments. Improved (membrane bioreactor) or advanced treatment processes, such as ozonation or activated charcoal, are then proposed and more effective but still variable, depending on the molecules. The assessment of health and environmental risks for molecules and effluents is necessary to define an integrative policy for the management of drug residues.