Main Article Content


This is the first study in Oman to evaluate the efficiency of a sewage treatment plant (STP) for hospital wastewater (HWW) treatment for heavy metals, radionuclides, and some selected pharmaceuticals. A sewage treatment plant (STP) at Sultan Qaboos University (SQU) receives HWW, from Sultan Qaboos University Hospital (SQUH), and municipal wastewater from non-medical facilities at SQU. Representative samples of HWW (before mixing with municipal wastewater at STP), STP-treated wastewater (TWW), and STP mixing sludge, were collected and analyzed. A method for analyzing pharmaceuticals including metformin, atenolol, chlorpheniramine, triprolidine, diphenhydramine, and citalopram was developed and validated using LC-MS-MS. HWW and TWW show low concentrations of heavy metals. Radionuclides found in HWW include Cs137, K40, Ra226, Th234, I131, Tl208, Zn65 Ac228, Sb125, Bi124 and Be7. Diphenhydramine (2.24 mg/L), chlorpheniramine (0.293 mg/L) and atenolol (0.0260 mg/L) were found in HWW. Heavy metals, radionuclides, and pharmaceuticals were found less in TWW than in HWW. STP sewage sludge showed higher levels of these pollutants than HWW or TWW. Concentrations of diphenhydramine, chlorpheniramine, and citalopram were 137, 0.950, and 169 mg/kg, respectively in dried sewage sludge. The study confirms the ineffectiveness of STP treatment to completely remediate HWW. HWW should be considered hazardous and requires physico-chemical treatment before mixing with municipal wastewater.

Keywords: Hospital, pharmaceuticals, radionuclides, heavy metals, wastewater.

Article Details