Skip to main content


Buy Article:

$9.50 plus tax (Refund Policy)

Or sign up for a free trial

This paper deals with the design of an innovative pharmaceutical wastewater treatment facility (WWTF), including a steam stripper / distillation process to treat pharmaceutical wastewater for removal of organic compounds prior to discharge to a Publicly Owned Treatment Works (POTW). This wastewater treatment process was constructed to meet the Pharmaceutical Effluent Guidelines for indirect dischargers as defined under 40 CFR Part 439 — Pharmaceutical Manufacturing Point Source Category.

The wastestreams at this facility are generated by liquid-liquid extraction and organic synthesis operations that utilize various organic solvents and other organic compounds. EPA set effluent limits on some of these compounds that are not readily biodegradable and that may pass through the POTW. Bench scale treatability studies showed that steam stripping of these wastestreams is a feasible option for treatment since many of the regulated compounds form low boiling point azeotropes and have relatively high vapor pressures allowing them to be stripped from the wastewater to low concentrations by using the steam stripping / distillation process.

Wastewater characterization, bench scale testing and modeling work showed that a 4,400 Kg/hr steam stripper column sized to handle an average COD loading of 2,100 Kg/d would be best suited for this application. The wastewater organic loading consists primarily of methanol, ethanol and four regulated compounds; acetone, methylene chloride, MIBK and toluene. The selected column is a tray-type column with thirty valve trays operating at an average L:V ratio of 4:1 and a reflux ratio of 12:1. The column is 610mm in diameter with fifteen equilibrium stages. The overall height is 18m. Twenty trays are located in the stripping section below the feed point and ten trays are located in the rectification section above the feed point. Overheads are condensed in shell and tube condensers, collected in a reflux tank and refluxed back to the rectification section of the column. Concentrated solvent product is pumped from the reflux tank to a product tank for storage and periodic transfer to a tanker-truck for off-site incineration for energy recovery. The bottoms are passed through a heat exchanger for heat recovery and then conveyed to a storage tank for final monitoring prior to discharge. The system performance is continuously monitored using an on-line gas chromatograph.

The final design utilizes a number of other unit processes consisting of; flow and load equalization, pH neutralization, chemical metering, solids filtration, heat recovery, cooling water and steam systems and air emission controls. The complete system is constructed within a compact 8.5m × 24.4m reinforced concrete containment structure with metal-sided superstructure that accommodates the space limitations and aesthetic considerations of the site.
No Reference information available - sign in for access.
No Citation information available - sign in for access.
No Supplementary Data.
No Data/Media
No Metrics

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 2002-01-01

More about this publication?
  • Proceedings of the Water Environment Federation is an archive of papers published in the proceedings of the annual Water Environment Federation® Technical Exhibition and Conference (WEFTEC® ) and specialty conferences held since the year 2000. These proceedings are not peer reviewed.

    A subscription to the Proceedings of the Water Environment Federation includes access to most papers presented at the annual WEF Technical Exhibition and Conference (WEFTEC) and other conferences held since 2000. Subscription access begins 12 months after the event and is valid for 12 months from month of purchase. A subscription to the Proceedings of the Water Environment Federation is included in Water Environment Federation (WEF) membership.

    WEF Members: Sign in (right panel) with your IngentaConnect user name and password to receive complimentary access. Access begins 12 months after the conference or event
  • Subscribe to this Title
  • Membership Information
  • About WEF Proceedings
  • WEFTEC Conference Information
  • Learn about the many other WEF member benefits and join today
  • Ingenta Connect is not responsible for the content or availability of external websites
  • Access Key
  • Free content
  • Partial Free content
  • New content
  • Open access content
  • Partial Open access content
  • Subscribed content
  • Partial Subscribed content
  • Free trial content
Cookie Policy
Cookie Policy
Ingenta Connect website makes use of cookies so as to keep track of data that you have filled in. I am Happy with this Find out more