Water Treatment

Researchers develop model to forecast pharmaceuticals dilution in freshwater

Researchers from IHE Delft and the Catalan Institute for Water Research have developed a model to forecast present and future dilution of pharmaceuticals in freshwater such as rivers and lakes.

Consumed broadly, pharmaceuticals released into the environment flow into freshwater bodies such as rivers and lakes. Some of this waste pose threats to freshwater ecosystems. Some of these wastes have been deemed as contaminants by the European Union and the US Environmental Protection Agency.

IHE Delft post-doc researcher Francesco Bregoli said: “With this model, we are able to predict current and future dilution of pharmaceuticals in freshwater ecosystems, taking into account scenarios of climate change and population growth”.

The compounds are not sufficiently collected and treated in wastewater treatment plants, which ultimately flows into rivers and lakes. This model identifies hubs of highly concentrated pharmaceuticals in these waters, making use of data from a global database of diclofenac consumption and occurrence in freshwaters, potentially enabling a focus on water treatment technology where it is needed most.