DENVER (BUSINESS WIRE) Jan. 5, 2016 --The Water Research Foundation (WRF), a leading sponsor of research supporting the water community, has announced a new project that will seek to improve understanding of current practices to reduce the loading of contaminants of emerging concern (CECs) being discharged from hospitals and other healthcare facilities. The project, entitledHospital Discharge Practices and Contaminants of Emerging Concern in Water (Project #4616), will investigate the current regulations and discharge practices for hazardous materials in the healthcare industry in order to provide data to formulate feasible actions to reduce the amount of CECs entering the water system due to modern healthcare practices. In addition to chemical contaminants, the project will also investigate microbial contaminants discharged from hospitals.
Research has shown hospital discharge to be a source of CECs in wastewater. Since many of these chemicals, such as chemotherapy drugs and iodinated contrast agents used in x-rays and CT scans, can be resistant to standard wastewater treatment, precautions must be taken in order to prevent CECs from entering water sources for both wastewater and drinking water. The findings of Project #4616 will provide insight to water utilities, wastewater utilities and hospitals, so they can take the necessary steps to ensure the safety and quality of water throughout the United States.
In addition to researching the current precautions for preventing CECs from entering sources for drinking water, project #4616 will provide utilities with more insight into the current regulation for hospital discharge practices. Recently, the EPA proposed the Management Standards for Hazardous Waste Pharmaceuticals Rule, which seeks to establish a set of regulations for healthcare facilities and distributors for the safe-management of hazardous waste pharmaceuticals within the healthcare setting. The EPA’s proposed rule, as well as the research findings expected with the completion of Project #4616, are both measures that could help preserve the safety of drinking and surface water by reducing the amount of pharmaceuticals entering U.S. waterways.
“Protecting the sources of our wastewater and drinking water by reducing chemical and microbial exposure is imperative to ensuring both public health and the safety of the environment,” said Rob Renner, Executive Director of the Water Research Foundation. “This research into preventing CECs from entering our waterways will enable collaboration between water utilities, healthcare practitioners and other stakeholders.”
Co-sponsored by UK Water Industry Research, Project #4616 has been awarded to American Water. Ruth Marfil-Vega, Environmental Scientist at American Water, will serve as the Principal Investigator.
For more information about the Water Research Foundation and its other projects, please visit www.waterrf.org.
About the Water Research Foundation
The Water Research Foundation is an internationally recognized leader in sponsoring research that supports the water community in holistically and cooperatively managing water from all sources to meet social, environmental, and economic needs. WRF’s research provides reliable and relevant solutions to the most critical challenges facing the water community today and into the future. Founded in 1966, WRF is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization that has sponsored nearly 1,500 research projects valued at $500 million, and serves more than 1,000 subscribing organizations. For more information, go to www.WaterRF.org.