Emerging micropollutants, such as pharmaceuticals and personal care products (PPCPs), have been extensively detected in aquatic systems worldwide, and pose serious hazards to human health and ecology even at trace levels. This project aims to develop, evaluate and deploy two pilot-scale treatment wetland systems, as a nature-based solution, to treat the real wastewater from the pharmaceutical industries.

  • DatesApril 2021 to March 2023
  • SponsorRoyal Academy of Engineering
  • Funded£79,698
  • PartnersRoyal Scientific Society (Jordan); Jordan Sweden Medical and Sterilization Company (JOSWE); Dar Al Dawa Group (DAD); SOLVillion Company

One of the major sources of pharmaceuticals and personal care products (PPCPs) is generated from pharmaceutical industries, however, such pharmaceutical compounds are barely removed in conventional wastewater treatment plants. In Jordan, the pharmaceutical industry is considered as one of the major pillars of the national economy, which contributes more than 10% of the gross domestic product. Nevertheless, the currently operated wastewater treatment technologies in local pharmaceutical industries, such as activated sludge system, and the ozonation approach coupled aluminium based chemical coagulation process, are facing the challenges of low treatment efficiency, high maintenance cost and extra cost to treat the toxic by-products. Thus, the development of a breakthrough technology to cost-effectively and efficiently remove pharmaceuticals from their wastewater is urgently needed.

Cranfield University has significant expertise in researching, enhancing and helping to implement nature-based solutions, including constructed wetland technologies. This project aims to build up a partnership between academics (Royal Scientific Society, RSS), pharmaceutical industries (DAD, and JOSWE), and the wastewater treatment industry (SOLVillion) from Jordan and academics (Cranfield University, CU) from the UK to develop, evaluate and deploy an advanced constructed wetland technology, as a nature-based solution, for pharmaceutical wastewater treatment. Two pilot-scale demonstrations will be implemented and monitored year-long on the sites of two pharmaceutical industries. Upon the successful demonstration, this project will offer a feasible technical solution to tackle the relevant global water pollution issue.

Related publications

  • Zhang Y, Lyu T, Zhang L, Button M, Arias CA, Weber KP, Shi J, Chen Z, Brix H & Carvalho PN (2019) Microbial community metabolic profiles in saturated constructed wetlands treating iohexol and ibuprofen, Science of the Total Environment, 651 (2) 1926-1934.
  • Zhang L, Lyu T, Zhang Y, Button M, Arias CA, Weber KP, Brix H & Carvalho PN (2018) Impacts of design configuration and plants on the functionality of the microbial community of mesocosm-scale constructed wetlands treating ibuprofen, Water Research, 131 (March) 228-238.
  • Lv T, Carvalho PN, Zhang L, Zhang Y, Button M, Arias CA, Weber KP & Brix H (2017) Functionality of microbial communities in constructed wetlands used for pesticide remediation: Influence of system design and sampling strategy, Water Research, 110 (March) 241-251.
  • Lv T, Zhang Y, Zhang L, Carvalho PN, Arias CA & Brix H (2016) Removal of the pesticides imazalil and tebuconazole in saturated constructed wetland mesocosms, Water Research, 91 (March) 126-136.