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Aerojet Fine Chemicals LLC (AFC) in Rancho Cordova, California, operates a batch pharmaceutical manufacturing plant with a variable wastewater effluent. To help meet the new effluent limitation guidelines established by the United States Environmental Protection Agency for the pharmaceutical industry (i.e. 40 Code of Federal Regulations Part 439), AFC has installed a process wastewater treatment system with Membrane Biological Reactor (MBR) treatment provided by Envirogen, Inc. A pilot MBR system was tested at the plant site from mid-October2000 through January 2001 to obtain design parameters and performance data for the full-scale MBR system. The full-scale system was started up in October 2001.

Based on the results of the pilot study, the full-scale bioreactor tank was designed to be 28 feet in diameter and 34 feet in height. The operating liquid volume is approximately 147,000 gallons. The MBR system is designed to treat 5 gallons per minute of wastewater at a feed total organic carbon (TOC) concentration of 14,000 milligrams per liter. The variable wastewater feed is routinely monitored for TOC, conductivity, and oxygen uptake rate to ensure that the feed is “biologically compatibility” with the biological solids within the reactor. AFC has developed an effective wastewater management plan to ensure that effluent pre-treatment guidelines are met. The treated water began consistently meeting the effluent standards at the beginning of March 2002.

Document Type: Research Article


Publication date: January 1, 2002

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