LIFE PHARMA-DETOX “Demonstration of an innovative method for the detoxification of pharmaceutical wastewater from pharmaceutical facilities”, is a 4-year project funded by EU LIFE Programme. The project aims to the development and implementation of an innovative, economically viable and cost-efficient system for the transformation of pharmaceutical compounds, present in wastewater, into non-toxic substances (novel detoxification process). The system will be able to treat the wastewater generated from production activities, ensuring that no APIs would end up in the wastewater sewage system without being processed and detoxified by the system developed.

The LIFE PHARMA DETOX consortium comprises 6 partners from the pharmaceutical industry, universities and SME from 4 EU countries Cyprus (CY), Greece (GR), Denmark (DK), Italy (IT).

Environmental Problem

It is estimated that more than 90% of wastewater from pharmaceutical industries globally was discharged untreated in 2014. Although, this percentage was about 50-60% for EU countries, a better management of emissions from pharmaceutical facilities is critical. The benefits of the responsible use of pharmaceuticals in duration and quality of life are widely recognized. However, during the two last decades many studies on soil, animals, fish, surface and ground water have shown that Active Pharmaceutical Ingredients (APIs) are continuously accumulated in all of them. One of the main objectives of the European Strategy for the environment is to minimize the presence of active pharmaceuticals in the surface, ground water and the environment in general.

Number of pharmaceutical substances detected in tap/drinking water per country.

Number of pharmaceuticals detected in sewage, wastewater treatment plants inflow /effluent /sludge per country.

Number of pharmaceuticals detected in surface waters, groundwater, tap water, and/or drinking water per country.

Source: Pharmaceuticals in the environment: Global occurrence and potential cooperative action under the Strategic Approach to International Chemicals Management (SAICM), Axel Bergmann,  Link