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API Removal from Pharmaceutical Manufacturing Wastewater: Results of Full-Scale Wastewater Treatment Performance

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Wyeth owns and operates an advanced industrial Wastewater Treatment Plant (WWTP) in Ireland. The facility is among the first full-scale pharmaceutical manufacturing sites to build and operate a wastewater treatment system specifically designed to remove Active Pharmaceutical Ingredients (APIs) from wastewater. The major unit processes at the WWTP include: (1) equalization and pH control; (2) biological treatment; (3) membrane filtration; and (4) ozone oxidation/degassing and destruction and discharge to a local Publicly Owned Treatment Works (POTW). Solids handing equipment includes screening of influent solids and thickening and centrifugation of waste activated sludge (biomass). This paper describes the process development work and then focuses on the full-scale performance of the treatment plant where: (1) estrogen APIs (17-α-estradiol; 17-β-estradiol (E2); 17-α-dihydroequilin; trimegestrone; estriol (E3); medrogestrone; norgestrel; and estradiol valerate) were removed to non-detectable levels; (2) estrogenicity was reduced from 3,843 ng/L to 3.16 ng/L, as 17β-estradiol equivalency; (3) the final effluent was shown to be non-toxic using the Microtox™ test; and; (4) the effluent is suitable for re-use as make-up water in cooling towers.
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Keywords: API; MBR; Wastewater; endocrine disruptor; estrogen; estrogenicity; hormones; ozone; toxicity; treatment; wastewater re-use

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 2009-01-01

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