Clean water & Sanitation

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Reducing pharmaceutical pollution

Experts are increasingly concerned about chemicals from prescription drugs and over-the-counter medications that end up in water sources. A number of recent studies identified trace concentrations of pharmaceuticals in wastewater and various water supplies, including drinking water.

The problem arises because our bodies only metabolise a fraction of the medicines we swallow – most of it is flushed down the lavatory. Standard sewage and wastewater treatment processes only remove around 70 per cent of these medicines with the remainder discharged into surface water. This poses potential issues for the environment and for drinking water supplies.

As part of a project sponsored by The Netherlands Government, Sibelco played a lead role in the development of an innovative new solution that uses surface-treated sand to remove pharmaceuticals from wastewater. Known as CatchAmed™, the sand absorbs any unused medicine within the lavatory system. It is then easily removed at the treatment stage further down the line because of the sand’s weight.

With the concept proven and a patent application filed, the next stage is to bring CatchAmed™ to market in collaboration with a select group of industry partners.

As demand for clean water increases across the globe, innovative solutions such as CatchAmed™ , together with other products in our range of water filtration materials, will make an important contribution to the supply of the world’s most precious commodity.

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