Wastewater from hospitals can contain traces of viruses, bacteria, chemicals for cancer treatments, hormones disrupting substances and just about anything else

Hospitals and pharmaceuticals

Wastewater produced by hospitals and clinical facilities originates from many sources. To understand the characteristics of the water and plan pre-treatments needed prior to discharge into the public sewer network, it is useful to understand what these sources are. The diagram below shows what some of these sources are and how Detectronic can help hospitals understand and manage hospital wastewater networks.


Wastewater from hospitals can contain traces of viruses, bacteria, chemicals for cancer treatments, hormones disrupting substances and just about anything else. If untreated, hospital wastewater entering a public sewer or discharged into the environment could cause pose a hazard to public health and aquatic life. Other types of facilities may include:

clinical labs

The types of processes performed in a clinical laboratory can include pathology, chemistry, hematology, microbiology, toxicology and urinalysis. Through these processes, wastewater might contain heavy metals, blood and body fluids, phosphates, formaldehyde and particulate materials. A mix of these could well result in the wastewater with higher biological demand (BOD) and chemical oxygen demand (COD) levels .

Research labs

Studies conducted in these facilities will be diverse and could range from infectious disease control to blood chemistry. Depending on the studies being conducted a facility could be one single laboratory producing a small amount of waste to a huge facility producing thousands of gallons a day. The wastewater produced may be sporadic with large quantities produced over a small period, followed by virtually nothing for another period of time.


There are typically three categories of wastewater:

Blackwater – Heavily polluted wastewater containing high concentrations of feacal matter, food residues and toxic chemicals.

Greywater – Low polluted wastewater with residues from processes such as washing, laboratory processes, laundry and  cooling water.

Stormwater – Rainwater runoff collected from roofs, grounds and paved surfaces.

Municipal wastewater treatment facilities are not equipped to treat raw wastewater from hospitals and therefore it must be pre-treated before being discharged. A typical consent licence issued by the local authority will contain maximum limits of the following parameters which a facility must adhere to:

✔  Flow

✔  Temperature

✔   pH

✔   Total suspended solids

✔   BOD

✔   COD

✔   Nitrate

✔   Total phosphorus

✔   E. coli concentration


wastewater monitoring

Detectronic are wastewater specialists and can implement continuous monitoring of key parameters to ensure a facility remains within the limits of their consent licence.

The ORAKEL System is a versatile solution that allows a user to add multiple sensors to one controller, making it a cost effective solution. Not only can water quality parameters be monitored, the ORAKEL is available with a selection of flow monitoring configurations.

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The MCERTS MSFM is a highly accurate flow monitor approved by the Environment Agency. Some trade effluent consent licences stipulate a site having MCERTS equipment in place.

In addition to supplying the equipment to buy outright or on a rental agreement, all the data received from the monitor is accessible remotely through a dedicated data portal for easy access at any time.

Learn More

related case studies


Following increases in production, a large pharmaceutical company in the UK was at risk of exceeding its limit for flow rate, daily volume and COD discharges.

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