SAUBER+ Innovative concepts for wastewater from public health sector facilities

In this project, the team analyses the risks of pharmaceutical and chemical inputs into wastewater from retirement homes, nursing homes and hospices, and develops strategies for action.

Research approach

Together with stakeholders from the public health sector, science, business and society, researchers ascertain and evaluate the risks of inputs into wastewater from public health sector facilities. It is the task of ISOE to organise and facilitate the stakeholder process. In addition to communication, ISOE engages in monitoring and an evaluation of activities by means of a stakeholder analysis.


To this end, realistic scenarios of future risk situations are drawn up, taking into account aspects such as demographic change, the pharmaceuticals market, socio-cultural awareness, or technological developments.

Action strategies

Using a Bayesian network, the team identifies action strategies for the defined waste/wastewater streams with the aim of developing an implementable approach to risk management. In order to fully evaluate the strategies themselves, a socio-ecological impact assessment is carried out. The findings from the project are then compared to the facts available for hospitals and medical clinics.


After use, countless pharmaceuticals end up in the water cycle, where detectable traces of such substances can pose a risk.

Project partners

  • Institut für Siedlungswasserwirtschaft (ISA), RWTH Aachen
  • Institut für Nachhaltige Chemie und Umweltchemie (INUC) und Institut für Umweltkommunikation (INFU), Leuphana Universität Lüneburg
  • DIALOGIK gemeinnützige Gesellschaft für Kommunikations und Kooperationsforschung mbH, Stuttgart
  • Institut für Umweltmedizin und Krankenhaushygiene, Universitätsklinikum Freiburg
  • Emschergenossenschaft/Lippeverband, Essen
  • Ortenau Klinikum, Offenburg
  • Carbon Service & Consulting GmbH & Co.KG, Vettweiß
  • Microdyn-Nadir GmbH, Wiesbaden
  • Umex GmbH, Dresden


Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF)



2011/11 – 2015/05