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In this work the effect of the temperature on the efficiency of the COD removal of a thermophilic aerobic treatment of wastewater from a pharmaceutical and a petrochemical industry has been studied. In both cases, the temperature was raised from 30°C (mesophilic conditions) to 65°C (thermophilic conditions) considering those limits adequate for the survival of the colonies of thermophilic microorganisms. In both cases a 5 litre laboratory reactor was used. The evolution of the TSS level in the reactor and the sludge generation in each case were studied. Also, a pilot plant study on the treatment of pharmaceutical wastewaters was carried out.

The wastewater from the pharmaceutical industry had a high organic load (due to solvents and synthesis by-products) and a high content of nutrients (N and P). Nevertheless, it was necessary to add nutrients (urea and ammonium phosphate) to favour the bacterial growth.

In thermophilic conditions the microflora and microfauna vary in its composition until the stabilization of the colony is reached, achieving a high efficiency in the degradation of the organic matter. This colony showed a high metabolism rate compared to mesophilic conditions and a specific microbial community for these conditions was developed.

Document Type: Research Article

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.2175/193864705783867152

Publication date: January 1, 2005

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