Research shows Biochar is efficient in removing pharmaceutical residues at onsite sewage facilities

In a very recent study published in Science of the Total Environment, Sahar Dalahmeh, a researcher at the Environmental Engineering Unit, and her co-workers investigated the potential of biochar filters to replace or complement sand filters for the removal of pharmaceutical residues from wastewater in onsite sewage facilities.

Potential of biochar filters for onsite sewage treatment

In particular, their study examined what effects biodegradation, adsorption and a combination of these processes have on the removal of model pharmaceutical substances from wastewater. They used biochar filters operated under hydraulic loading conditions mimicking those found in onsite sand infiltration beds. In a 22-weeks experiment, concentrations and removal carbamazepine, metoprolol, ranitidine and caffeine were investigated in four treatments: biochar with active, biochar with inactive biofilm, biochar without biofilm and sand with active biofilm. They conclude that biochar is a promising filter medium for onsite sewage facilities, especially for persistent pharmaceutical residues such as carbamazepine and metoprolol.

Interested in reading more? Follow the below link to access the full publication:

Dalahmeh, S., Ahrens, L., Gros, M., Wiberg, K., & Pell, M. (2018). Potential of biochar filters for onsite sewage treatment: Adsorption and biological degradation of pharmaceuticals in laboratory filters with active, inactive and no biofilmScience of The Total Environment612, 192-201.

You can read more of Sahar’s work on ResearchGate or get in touch with her at

Posted by Prithvi Simha

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