Waste water Treatment Pains – Pharmaceuticals in our water environment, is a report from Svenskt Vatten, the Swedish water and waste water association, within the framework of the control at source work and Revaq. Revaq is a national quality assurance system for waste water treatment plants. Revaq is managed by Svenskt Vatten. A steering group is associated with Revaq in which the Federation of Swedish farmers (LRF), and the Swedish Food Federation participates. There is also a collaboration in Revaq with the Swedish Environmental Protection Agency. In previous reports Svenskt Vatten has highlighted other problematic substances that pass into waste water treatment plants. We have published reports on cadmium, triclosan, PFAS and antibacterial silver.
Our waste water treatment plants in Sweden work hard to treat waste water. This involves huge efforts to phase out toxic and harmful substances to prevent them passing into the sewers and from there, into the countryside. We call this upstream work. Using the report Waste water Treatment Pains, we wish to focus on the problems of pharmaceutical residues in our shared Swedish waters and in our waste water systems. The water and waste water organisations are experiencing a growing problem that must be dealt with. The questions cry out for answers; the techniques are available – but progress is too slow. National and EU legislation are partly inadequate and funding issues are largely unresolved.
We see certain easy solutions, such as making pharmaceuticals that contain river basin-specific pollutants prescription-only. It should be possible to achieve quite quickly. The report addresses several involved parties: the EU, the Swedish government, the Swedish authorities, the pharmaceutical industry, the Swedish regions, prescribing doctors, pharmacies as well as the consumers of pharmaceuticals.
Using this report, Svenskt Vatten wishes to intensify and accelerate the work dealing with river basin-specific pollutants.
Svenskt Vatten March 2021