Micro-pollutants in Hospital Effluent: Their Fate, Risk and Treatment Options

  • Paola VerlicchiEmail author
  • Alessio Galletti
  • Mira Petrovic
  • Damià Barceló
Part of the The Handbook of Environmental Chemistry book series (HEC, volume 20)


This chapter deals with the physicochemical characteristics of hospital effluents, focusing on both macropollutants (conventional contaminants) and micro-pollutants (pharmaceutical compounds, heavy metals and diagnostic agents). It compares their typical concentration ranges measured in hospital effluents and urban wastewaters and then discusses the behaviour of micro-pollutants, mainly pharmaceutical compounds during common treatment processes and upon their release into the environment, attempting to find correlations with their physical properties. It then goes on to provide an overview of the most commonly adopted strategies for managing and treating hospital effluents worldwide, focusing on the ability of the various treatments to remove the wide spectrum of pharmaceuticals contained therein. Some considerations are also made on the tools available for assessing the environmental risks posed by the discharge of hospital effluents, and, finally, guidelines for the best treatment options are proposed.


Environmental risk assessment Hospital effluents Management and treatment Pharmaceuticals 


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2011 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  • Paola Verlicchi
    • 1
    Email author
  • Alessio Galletti
    • 1
  • Mira Petrovic
    • 2
    • 3
  • Damià Barceló
    • 2
    • 4
    • 5
  1. 1.Department of EngineeringUniversity of FerraraFerraraItaly
  2. 2.Catalan Institute for Water Research (ICRA)GironaSpain
  3. 3.Catalan Institution for Research and Advanced Studies (ICREA)BarcelonaSpain
  4. 4.Department of Environmental ChemistryIDAEA-CSICBarcelonaSpain
  5. 5.King Saud UniversityRiyadhSaudi Arabia

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