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Treatment Technologies For the Removal of Active Pharmaceutical Ingredient Microconstituents from Pharmaceutical Process Wastewaters

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This paper presents a case study for the design of a full-scale wastewater treatment plant (WWTP) to remove active pharmaceutical ingredient (API) microconstituents from a pharmaceutical manufacturing plant effluent through the application of membrane bioreactor (MBR) and advanced oxidation treatment technologies (AOT).

Bench scale treatability studies were conducted to determine treatment technologies for removal of 10 specific APIs used at this site. The bench scale studies included biomass respirometry initially conducted to evaluate the potential bio-degradability and biomass inhibition thresholds for each of the APIs and was followed by AOT testing to determine the feasibility of destroying the non-biodegradable APIs through oxidation with hydroxyl radicals.

The bench scale testing led to the installation and operation of a 1.0 gpm pilot treatment system consisting of a MBR and various combinations of AOT. The data collected were used to develop design criteria and unit process sizing for a full-scale WWTP. The full-scale system consists of equalization, neutralization, MBR, and AOT of the MBR permeate using hydrogen peroxide reactors activated with ultra violet light.

After two years of operation a follow-up study was performed to determine under real time conditions the changes in API microconstituent concentrations through the treatment process.
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Keywords: Advanced Oxidation Treatment; Membrane Bioreactor; Pharmaceutical Wastewater; Treatability Testing

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 2009-01-01

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