Innovative Concepts and Technologies for the Separate Treatment of Wastewater from Health Care Facilities – SAUBER+

Leading organisations:
RWTH Aachen University, Institute for Social-Ecological Research (Institut für sozial-ökologische Forschung), Leuphana Institute für Umweltchemie, Leuphana Institute für Umweltkommunikation, Dialogik gemeinnützige Gesellschaft für Kommunikations- und Kooperationsforschung mbH, University Medical Center Freiburg, Emschergenossenschaft (German water board), Ortenau Klinikum Offenburg-Gengenbach, Carbon Service & Consulting, Microdyn Nadir, and Umex Dresden


Geographic Area:
Central Europe


1) The characterization of the risk through the entry of pharmaceutical active substances and pathogens from different health care facilities into the aquatic environment.
2) To strengthen risk awareness in society and initiate targeted changes in behavior.

Target audience:
General Public, Health Professionals, Hospitals, Hospitals/health system stakeholders, and Scientists

Area of interest:
Occurrence of pharmaceuticals in the environment, Pharmaceutical consumption by humans, Pharmaceutical waste & waste management, Risks to human health, and Wastewater


1) Identification of all relevant point sources and assessment based on material and facility-specific exposure data.
2) Treatment of wastewater using a wide range of currently discussed and fundamentally proven technologies: membrane bioreactor, ozonation, UV radiation, activated carbon adsorption. This involves an innovative further development of the techniques used for the best possible application.
3) Communication of central project results to the users of the examined health facilities. The content and formats are created with the involvement of the addressees or their representatives and adapted to their particular living conditions, such as the degree of external care.
4) Development of facility, catchment area and target group-specific measures to avoid the entry of active pharmaceutical ingredients and pathogens into the aquatic environment based on specific applications. Building on this, generally applicable recommendations for concepts and technologies for the separate treatment of wastewater from healthcare facilities are formulated.

Communication material:

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HCWH Europe gratefully acknowledges the financial support of the European Commission (EC)’s LIFE+ programme, the Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation, and Nuclear Safety (BMU) Germany, and the German Environment Agency (UBA). HCWH Europe is solely responsible for the content of this project and related materials. The views expressed do not reflect the official views of the EC, BMU, or UBA.