Poster Presentation at Associate of Environmental Engineers and Scientists (AEES) Symposium
Updated: Feb 28, 2019
In April 6th 2018, I participated AEES spring symposium, presented my work " Fe(VI) oxidation of Pharmaceuticals in Hydrolyzed Urine: Enhancement effects from Bicarbonate and Creatinine", and awarded the 3rd place in the poster competition.
In this poster presentation, I focused on delivering my technical content to lay people using easily-understood languages coupled with interesting cartoons. The first question people usually asked about when seeing my poster is why we need to get rid of drugs in our pee, and how the removal of drugs from pee can create an impact on safe water environment. I would use the following graphic to explain the initiatives of my research work.
According to the National Ambulatory Medical Care Survey at 2010 , the number of pharmaceuticals prescribed or provided in US is 2.6 billion. A large portion of these prescribed pharmaceuticals are excreted unchanged or as metabolites in the urine and feces, then treated by wastewater treatment plants (WWTPs). However, most WWTPs are not equipped with highly advanced treatment processes that can treat these drugs, these pharmaceuticals and metabolites ended up in the natural environment and endanger the aquatic ecosystem due to their toxicity and potential to induce the drug resistance.
Human urine only accounts for less than 1% of municipal wastewater by volume, it contributes over 60% of pharmaceuticals. This makes our toilet become a major drug portal to the world. so it would be very attractive to treat drugs in the urine rather than diluted wastewater.
Moreover, human urine contributes 80% of N and 50% of P to wastewater stream. That is why there is an increasing interest to recover these P and N from source-separated urine and it has represented a new way to manage wastewater and a realistic alternative to conventional nutrient elimination. This nutrients recovery initiative also will create a good opportunity to remove drugs.
I hope my work, by applying the strong oxidant ferrate in toilet, could help to mitigate the occurrence of drugs in natural water systems.