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Start-up of a High Purity Oxygen Sequencing Batch Reactor System for Treatment of an Active Pharmaceutical Ingredient (API) Wastewater

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In 2001, an active pharmaceutical ingredient (API) manufacturer started up a new on-site wastewater pretreatment system for its batch chemical synthesis plant (the Facility) in the southeastern region of the United States to comply with the Federal Effluent Guideline categorical pretreatment standards by September 21, 2001. The heart of the new pretreatment system relies on biological oxidation of soluble solvents in a high purity oxygen (HPO) sequencing batch reactor (SBR) system. Although both SBRs and HPO systems have been widely and effectively implemented in industrial wastewater applications, the combination of these two technologies has only been applied in two-full scale applications in the United States. This paper presents a case study of the largest application of the HPO SBR system and highlights findings from start-up of the HPO SBR system.

The HPO SBR technology selected for the new pretreatment system was based on results from a 10-month pilot-scale testing program conducted at the Facility. Results from pilot-scale testing (Rodieck, et al, 2001) demonstrated that an HPO SBR system could biologically degrade regulated solvents, while producing very low Hazardous Air Pollutants (HAP) emissions. This finding led to the design and installation of a two-stage system using an HPO SBR system for biodegradation of solvents followed by a shallow tray air stripping system for removal of low levels of volatile compounds remaining after biological treatment.

The Facility started-up the new pretreatment system in July 2001. Since initial start-up of the pretreatment system, the Facility has consistently maintained compliance with the Effluent Guideline pretreatment limits. The performance and removal efficiencies of the full-scale system support and confirm the pilot-scale testing program findings concerning biological treatment of the Facility's process wastewater. The pretreatment system has demonstrated that it can effectively treat the API wastewater up to the SBR design capacity of 15,000 lbs/day COD and that, with the exception of methylene chloride, the biological system can consistently degrade regulated solvents to below pretreatment effluent discharge limits prior to the secondstage air strippers.

Document Type: Research Article


Publication date: January 1, 2002

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  • 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.

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