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Wet Air Oxidation of Difficult to Treat Pharmaceutical Waste Streams

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Wet air oxidation (WAO) is a technology that can be used to treat wastewaters from the pharmaceutical industry. A test program was carried out to determine the treatment of pharmaceutical wastewaters that had a high chemical oxygen demand (COD) and were poorly biodegradable. The testing included batch style bench scale testing, continuous flow pilot testing, and a biological treatment study of the WAO treated effluent. Several mixtures of up to 12 different wastewater streams were tested. Testing indicated that a COD reduction of the mixed wastewater of up to 71% can be achieved in the continuous flow system operating at 290 °C with a 90 minute time at temperature. COD reduction varied with different types of wastewaters. The effluents from the wet air oxidation system were generally biodegradable and could be further treated using a conventional biological treatment system. After bench scale biological treatment, the treated wastewater had a COD and BOD concentration of less than 500 mg/L and 50 mg/L, respectively.

Keywords: Biodegradability; Oxidation; Pharmaceutical; Wastewater; Wet Air Oxidation

Document Type: Research Article


Publication date: July 29, 2007

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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 These proceedings are not peer reviewed.

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