Grundfos solves wastewater issues for Herlev Hospital

Date: 17 August 2016

A new report shows that a wastewater treatment system developed by Grundfos works so well in practise that all dangerous substances can effectively be removed from Herlev Hospital’s wastewater.

With the help of a Grundfos BioBooster purification plant, Herlev Hospital proves, as the first in Denmark, that it is possible to clean wastewater efficiently, before it leaves the grounds of the hospital. After almost two years of testing, a report from DHI shows that all dangerous substances can be removed from the wastewater, preventing it from harming water, plants, animals and humans in its surrounding environment – to top it all, at a lower price than what the hospital had to pay otherwise.“The hospital’s purification plant is capable of cleaning the wastewater to a degree where bacteria, medical substances and endocrine disruptors that make the risk of damaging water environment, animals and humans disappear,” says chief planner Ulf Nielsen, DHI, who has been project manager on preparing the report.

Stops harmful substances
The issue which Herlev Hospital and Grundfos now have solved is that drug residues and resistant bacteria from the patients’ faeces and urine end up in the water environment via the wastewater, because it cannot be removed in the municipal sewage cleaning plant or because the sewers overflows due to floods or heavy rainfalls.

“The Danish Ministry of the Environment and the municipalities want to remove the dangerous substances at the source – in this case the hospital – since the municipal sewage cleaning plants can only to a limited extent remove antibiotics, cancer medicine, pain drugs and a number of other pharmaceuticals from the wastewater. The consequences for the water environment, plants and animals could amongst others be hormone disturbances which can result in growth-related problems and deformities in fish and water fleas,” explains Ulf Nielsen. According to him, there is also a real risk of resistant bacteria infecting
humans who are exposed to the wastewater that have not been treated efficiently enough. “If for instance people, swimming in the sea or fishermen are infected with resistant bacteria, it can be difficult to fight the infections they will get with antibiotics,” says Ulf Nielsen.

The Herlev-solution leads the way
The report from DHI does not just conclude that Herlev Hospital and Grundfos can turn a problem into a resource by cleaning the wastewater thoroughly enough for it to be used in the hospital’s cooling system. It also shows that the hospital can save money at the same time since the decentralized treatment costs less than the one carried out in the municipal sewage cleaning plant.

Sales Manager Jakob Søholm from Grundfos BioBooster considers the results from Herlev to be a regular breakthrough for decentralized cleaning of wastewater from hospitals.

“All over the country, municipalities have been waiting for a solution that shows how and how well the hospitals’ wastewater could be cleansed in order for them to precisely express emission requirements to the hospitals. Now it has been documented that the solution exists and the municipalities can thereby make demands that are feasible to meet,” says Jakob Søholm.