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Application of MBR/Advanced Oxidation Treatment Technologies For the Treatment of Pharmaceutical Wastewaters

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This paper presents a case study for the design of a pharmaceutical wastewater treatment plant (WWTP) for the removal of pharmaceutical effluent guideline (PEG) compounds and active pharmaceutical ingredients (APIs) from a pharmaceutical formulation plant effluent. The regulated PEG compounds at this site are acetone, n-amyl acetate, ethyl acetate, isopropyl acetate, and methylene chloride. In addition to meeting the PEG limitations for these compounds the pharmaceutical company desired to reduce the concentrations of APIs in its effluent discharge. Bench scale studies were conducted on the raw wastewater and 10 specific APIs used at the site. The bench scale studies included respirometry and advanced oxidation treatment (AOT) testing. The respirometry treatability testing evaluated the potential for biomass inhibition caused by the APIs and the bio-degradability of the APIs. The AOT testing evaluated the feasibility of destroying the non-biodegradable APIs through oxidation with hydroxyl radicals. The bench scale testing was followed by installation and operation of a 1.0 gpm pilot treatment system consisting of a membrane bioreactor (MBR) and UV/peroxide and UV/ozone AOT processes. Full scale design data for a MBR / AOT wastewater treatment facility was developed based on the pilot plant data. The full scale system consists of equalization, neutralization, membrane bioreactor with hollow fiber microfiltration membranes, and advanced oxidation treatment of the MBR permeate using hydrogen peroxide reactors activated with ultra violet light. The WWTP start-up was completed in August 2006. This paper summarizes the findings from the bench and pilot studies and presents the full scale plant basis of design and performance.


Document Type: Research Article


Publication date: October 1, 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 These proceedings are not peer reviewed.

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