Prize for communities to remove drugs and pollutants from water

Prize for communities to remove drugs and pollutants from water

AcceliGOV competition to offer pilot of Pharem Biotech’s award-winning solution.

With only 1% of the world’s water available for human consumption, the threat of pollutants entering our water supplies is dangerous to human health and the environment. Leading Cities, a global non-profit organization that drives resilience and sustainability in communities around the world, opened applications for local governments to compete for a no-cost pilot project to properly treat water and remove relevant organic pollutants. Open to any wastewater treatment plant or industrial water processor, AcceliGOV is accepting applications until mid-March for this pilot, worth $100,000. The innovative solution is provided by Pharem Biotech, the 2021 QBE AcceliCITY Resilience Challenge grand prize winner, a global competition hosted by Leading Cities in partnership with QBE North America.

“Every person on this planet deserves the right to clean, healthy drinking water, but even in the world’s most advanced nations, water treatment facilities are not able to remove all organic pollutants. Instead, they are releasing water that still contains everything from drugs and antibiotics to toxic chemicals into our ecosystem,” said Michael Lake, President and CEO of Leading Cities. “We are proud to be offering the opportunity for any water treatment facility or process to apply for a free pilot installation of this award-winning, revolutionary solution to rid our water supplies of these harmful pollutants once and for all.”

Current trends indicate that pharmaceuticals leaking into waterways could increase by two-thirds before mid-century and The World Health Organization has identified this as one of the five top challenges facing the future of humanity.

By removing hazardous organic pollutants from water, Pharem Biotech can help water treatment plants and industrial water treatment processes to target unwanted organic substances like pharmaceutical residues that enters rivers, lakes and drinking water. These pollutants have devastating effects on underwater wildlife as well as human health.

Pharem was chosen from more than 500 solutions worldwide by a distinguished panel of judges with representatives from the World Economic Forum, United Nations, Arsht-Rockefeller Foundation Resilience Center, QBE Ventures, and QBE North America.

Despite using advanced biotechnology and research to create Pharem’s treatment solution, Zymatic, the implementation is remarkably simple and leverages existing water treatment equipment. Enzymes are selected and bound to a sand-like material to target organic pollutants present in the water which produces cleaner, safer treated water. Using enzymes, Zymatic offers high customizability to select treatment mechanisms based on needs. This makes Zymatic suitable for both municipal wastewater treatment plants and industrial processes on a global scale.

AcceliGOV serves to deploy some of the world’s more innovative and impactful solutions in communities of all sizes and location around the globe. The QBE AcceliCITY Resilience Challenge, which vets these solutions, has quickly become one of the top three GovTech accelerators in the world and has demonstrated tremendous impact. AcceliCITY alumni have already raised in excess of $200 million and cities around the world have gained access to innovative solutions sourced globally and vetted by international experts.

To apply for a free pilot of the Zymatic solution, visit before the March deadline.


We use our own and third-party cookies to enable and improve your browsing experience on our website. If you go on surfing, we will consider you accepting its use.