EnviroChemie magazine highlights 21st century pharma environmental challenges
Press Release | EnviroChemie GmbH
AUGUST 18, 2016
Rossdorf, Germany: – Water treatment specialist EnviroChemie identifies better understanding of ‘zero liquid discharge’ (ZLD), the increased prevalence of microplastic particles in waste water and renewed focus on the health risks of cooling systems as three of the key environmental challenges for the pharma industry.
The insights appear in a special EnviroChemie magazine ‘Technology for the Future’, published to mark the German-based company’s 40th anniversary.
The magazine, available for online download, also includes articles on the application of Industry 4.0 remote technology to water management, along with the bottom-line benefits of reduced water usage and recovery of raw materials from waste flows.
The chapter on ZLD warns that the concept of zero water discharge is widely misunderstood and sometimes incorrectly applied.
“There is no ready-made standard solution for zero liquid discharge,” explains EnviroChemie ZLD expert Elmar Billenkamp, in the article “Production without wastewater: Possible but not always sensible”.
“It requires a very complex combination of our wastewater treatment processes. Therefore it is economically viable only under specific basic conditions,” says Billenkamp, pointing out that these conditions are as diverse as the local circumstances, including water shortage, basic treatment infrastructure and local governance.
The magazine also draws attention to the increasing problems caused by minute particles in pharma water discharges; especially active ingredients and microplastics that do not degrade and can accumulate in sensitive habitats. Sometimes these plastic particles are too small to be seen by the naked eye but constitute an increasing problem, having been detected in oceans and watercourses, in food and beverages and even in polar ice.
“According to scientific estimates, roughly six to ten percent of the global plastics production ends up in our world’s oceans. And once they have reached the ocean, they stay there for a long time,” EnviroChemie warns in the article entitled ‘The Deluge of Small Particles – A Risk for Humans and the Environment?’
“Plastics usually disintegrate very, very slowly. Some of my co-workers say it takes centuries,” says Dr. Gunnar Gerdts from EnviroChemie research partner, the Alfred Wegener Institute at the Helmholtz Centre for Polar and Marine Research. “Therefore we have to ensure that plastics do not end up in the environment in the first place.”
EnviroChemie technologies are helping alleviate this problem, particularly the combination of sedimentation and flocculation water treatment.
Cooling; underestimated risk
‘Technology for the Future’ also features an interview with Ulrich Saalfeld, EnviroChemie’s expert on cooling water treatment products, focusing on increasing concern about health risks, particularly Legionella’s Disease.
“This risk was underestimated for a long time because companies did not deal with their cooling systems in depth,” says Saalfeld.
However, several Legionella epidemics in recent years have forced reappraisal worldwide, with many countries adopting new legislation governing plumbing and cooling systems.
“It is not enough to clean the system regularly with chemicals,” Saalfeld points out. “The basis for safe Legionella prevention is a clean overall system. We call it the magic triangle in the cooling water area: inhibit corrosion, prevent deposits and minimize bacterial growth. That is the only way to keep Legionella concentrations under non-critical levels.”
Saalfeld added that cooling water hygiene could also pay energy efficiency dividends.
“For example, if just a one millimeter thick bio-film is deposited in a heat exchanger – and it happens fast – that causes a 30 percent loss in efficiency,” Saalfeld pointed out.
EnviroChemie GmbH has established a reputation over four decades for reliable and innovative technology for water and wastewater treatment, specializing in developing and implementing customized solutions for customers in the pharmaceutical industry and life sciences.
This ISO-9001 certified engineering company was founded in 1976 and offers a holistic range of “Made in Germany” branded products and services based on chemico-physical, biological and membrane filtration processes, whose pedigree relies on its long list of research achievements and patents.
EnviroChemie adopts a partnership approach in which client specialized needs and characteristics form the basis for individual design, planning, engineering, building and commissioning of pharmaceutical wastewater treatment plants.
With more than 300 plants per year sold worldwide, EnviroChemie applies its unrivalled experience to continuous development of innovative and reliable industrial water and wastewater technologies, specializing in treating water and effluent flows to:
- Abate trace elements by concentrating them (e.g. reverse osmosis and vacuum distillation)
- Inactivate streams containing biologically active ingredients (e.g. vaccines, antigens, etc.) by means of thermal sterilisation technology
- Eliminate pharmaceuticals implementing advanced oxidation processes (e.g. ozonation)
- Generate green energy (biogas) from digested organic matter (COD) implementing anaerobic treatment technology (e.g. at insulin production facilities)
EnviroChemie products are developed and supplied from three sites in Germany and Switzerland and the company operates seven sales and service offices, including subsidiaries in Brazil and Russia.
Jutta Quaiser, Press & PR Manager, EnviroChemie GmbH
Tel: +49 (0) 6154 6998 72
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