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Treatment of the hospital wastewaters in Côte d'Ivoire and in Colombia by advanced oxidation processes

 

The main goal of this project is to treat the hospital wastewaters by an innovative and alternative methods based on advanced oxidation processes (AOP’s) in Côte d'Ivoire and in Colombia. Techniques that will be investigated are Fenton, photo-Fenton, the ultrasound and the electro-oxidation (electrochemical techniques).

​​​About the project

Background

Water consumption is essential for life. However, due to insufficient, inadequate or inexistent water treatment plants the quality of life (including social, environmental and economic sectors) is being considerably harmed due to the increase of diseases and to the decrease of cash and food products. Poor populations in developing countries are being the most affected. This is the case of Ivory Coast and the Pacific region of Colombia. These two regions are geographically far but close in origin (African culture) and troubles (armed conflict, social inequality and poverty). Both of them have agriculture, fishing and tourism as the main economical incomes and water use is the central element of their economic development. 

​Hospital wastewaters are one of the main sources of a group of micro-pollutants named as „emerging contaminants“(e.g. antibiotics, cytostatics and X-ray contrast media). According to many works, the discharge of those products in the environment (waters) produces a non-negligible effect on the physical, chemical and biological composition of the water bodies and puts the people at a high social and economic risk because surface waters hold a significant fraction of tourism-based economic activities. Moreover, ground waters, where the emerging contaminants are leaked from drilled wells, are frequently used as a source of drinking water.

Objectives

Our approach will be based on the management of the wastewaters at their production sources, in pipe and at the end of pipe, and then on developing methods for their treatment. Therefore the main goal of this project is to develop relevant, efficient and sustainable techniques based on the generation of highly oxidative species by advanced oxidation processes (AOPs) for the treatment of the hospital wastewaters in Ivory Coast and in the pacific region of Colombia. 

The work will be based on the following general hypotheses: The treatment of the hospital wastewaters by AOPs leads to the total oxidation of the pollutants or to the transformation of them into non-toxic and biodegradable compounds. The AOPs will consist in the use of photo-Fenton, ultrasound, UV/H2O2 and/or electrochemical oxidation and have to be effective to treat hospital wastewaters, adapted to local context, validated scientifically and technically, easy to carry on, strong enough for a long term operation, respectful of the ecological principles and of minimal financial cost.

Relevance

In Ivory Coast and Colombia, big and small hospitals reject their wastewaters in the environment without treatment. Thus, the wastewaters could reach the consuming waters and could also constitute a danger for poor people using water from wells and from rivers or surface waters for their domestic and economic activities. But also in Switzerland, although the problem has been mitigated, emergent contaminants such as ibuprofen, carbamazepine, ciprofloxacin, trimethoprim, etc., coming from hospital wastewaters have been found at the output of the wastewater treatment plant of Vidy in Lausanne.

Geographic scope

  • te d’Ivoire 
  • Colombia​

Research consortium

Grantees 

  • sar Pulgarin, School of Basic Sciences, Institute Of Chemical Sciences and Engineering, EPFL 
  • Ouattara Lassine, University of Cocody, Abidjan, Ivory Coast Torres Ricardo, University of Antioquia, Medellin, Colombia 

Partner​ships 

  • Wastewaters of the university hospital center of Treichville, Côte d’Ivoire 
  • Divino Niño hospital center, Tumaco, Colombia

Project information on P3

  • Link to project on SNSF research database P3

 

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Further information on this content

 Contact

Prof. Dr. César Pulgarin EPFL Groupe des procédés avancés d'oxydation Bâtiment CH J2 504
Station 6
CH-1015 Lausanne +41 21 693 47 20 cesar.pulgarin@epfl.ch

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