Thanks to a public–private innovation partnership, Herlev Hospital in the Capital Region of Denmark has commissioned an entirely new purification plant that uses advanced technology to eliminate medicinal products and bacteria from waste water.
Consequently, the hospital no longer releases cytotoxins and antibiotic-resistant bacteria into the sea. The waste water from the hospital is now so pure that – when the authorities gives permission – it can be discharged directly into local watercourses.
The plant can handle all 150,000 m3 of waste water produced annually by Herlev Hospital. It is designed to handle 180,000 m3, because the hospital will be expanding in the years ahead.
The water purification plant initially uses mechanical and biological purification methods familiar from ordinary purification plants. Next, medicinal products and other substances are removed from the water using advanced membrane technology, active carbon and ozone.
Sludge from the purification plant is dried, packed and taken away for incineration.
The plant cost DKK 43 million including development costs. Support from The Market Development Fund and the Danish Nature Agency made the innovation partnership viable.
Now the authorities can toughen their requirements
The plant helps provide the regulatory authorities in Denmark and abroad with documentation of the Best Available Technology (BAT). This is a prerequisite to enable the authorities to toughen their requirements for water purification at other hospitals. Once this happens, flora and fauna in the seas will be spared toxic substances from hospitals, and people working with waste water will have a cleaner working environment.