At Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany, water is used in production primarily for cooling, as process water, or for exhaust air purification. After being used, the water may contain eutrophicating substances, heavy metals, or active pharmaceutical ingredients (APIs). The treatment of this wastewater, and thus the prevention of environmental pollution, is a fundamental part of our corporate environmental protection measures worldwide.
The function Environment Health Safety Security Quality (EQ), which is in charge of environmental protection, bears overall responsibility for water protection. At the individual Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany sites worldwide, the local EHS managers are in charge of this. Our employees regularly receive training and obtain additional qualifications.
In 2011-2012, Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany made significant revisions to its Group-wide “Water Protection” standard. Based on our Responsible Care obligations, this standard defines the processes and responsibilities required for clean wastewater at Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany, and also covers the hiring of third parties to handle it.
The standard also requires all sites to estimate the specific risks and effects of wastewater, as well as to assess these risks and effects using ecotoxicological data. The individual sites must develop and implement a water pollution response plan that features specific measures to prevent wastewater or reduce its volume. This plan takes into account API emissions, among others, and also defines the documentation process for wastewater volume, point of origin, and local limits.
The standard also provides strict guidelines for wastewater handling via external service providers. The wastewater quality to be attained is, if not already specified in law, contractually defined, as are the responsibilities involved. Furthermore, service providers are regularly audited.