Scottish Water is responsible for the provision of the public water supply and treatment of public wastewater in Scotland, serving 5 million customers across the country in every aspect of their daily lives. Scottish Water are working in partnership with the NHS, Scottish Environment Protection Agency and the University of Highlands & Islands’ Environmental Research Institute through the One Health Breakthrough Partnership. The aim of the partnership is to reduce the risk of pharmaceutical pollution through source control and prevention upstream of antibiotics or other medicines entering the waste water cycle. By doing so we can help build the effectiveness of pharmaceuticals in the treatment of patients and also limit the impact upon the environment.
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Chemical Investigation Programme 3 Scotland (CIP3 Scotland) – Background
The Chemical Investigation Programme (CIP) in Scotland is an ongoing research programme that addresses the likely implications of the Priority Substances Directive environmental legislation for Scottish Water. CIP Scotland is a partnership project between Scottish Water and SEPA.
CIP3 Scotland (started April 2021) follows on from CIP2 Scotland (2015-2020) which identified and explored the chemicals of concern, their sources and concentrations leaving the sewerage system and proposed how those of concern should be addressed in the most sustainable way. In CIP2 Scotland, a decision-making framework was agreed with SEPA for how Priority Substances Directive compliance was addressed, e.g., through process optimising of existing wastewater treatment, sewer network catchment management and controlling release of these substances at source, to avoid release to the environment. Of the 51 substances sampled in CIP2 Scotland, 35 were categorised as no further action required with EQS/PNECs in March 2020.
CIP3 Scotland – Aims
- Investigate some of the findings of CIP2 with respect to contaminant sources, with catchment studies for cypermethrin & PFOS/PFOA including a further look at trends of certain substances;
- Extend the scope of monitoring to estuarine and coastal waters;
- Explore the opportunities of innovative source control through the One Health Breakthrough Partnership in relation to pharmaceutical pollution;
- Provide better understanding of new and existing approaches to wastewater treatment for example Real Time Control and better controls which may have the dual benefit of energy reductions and substances of concern removal. A process optimisation trial at Dunnswood WWTW by improving the anoxic zone in the activated sludge plant to see whether better 17a-ethynylestradiol (EE2) removal can be achieved & reduce energy usage;
- Gather more information/data on the quality of sewage sludge (particularly in relation to Priority Substances and substances of emerging concern) to increase the evidence base which could be used to help inform strategic/policy/regulatory/legislative decisions;
- Quantify levels of substances of emerging concern in the influent, effluent, upstream and downstream of the WWTWs and update information in the substance templates;
- Understand how Priority substances might be addressed, so as not to compromise the achievement of good status under the Water Framework Directive (WFD) by 2027;
- Understand in terms of the Circular Economy the quality of our influent, effluent and sludge so Scottish Water are able to return wastewater safely to the environment and make bioresources available as a fertiliser.