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Anaerobic biotechnology for pharmaceutical wastewater treatment

Lookup NU author(s): Shreeshivadasan Chelliapan, Dr Paul Sallis


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The wastewater generated from the pharmaceutical industry contain high organic load and the treatment are primarily carried out using two major types of biological methods; aerobic and anaerobic. However, due to high strength, it is infeasible to treat some pharmaceutical wastewater using aerobic biological processes. As an alternative, an anaerobic process is preferred to remove high strength organic matter. Anaerobic wastewater treatment is considered as the most cost effective solution for organically polluted industrial waste streams. In particular the development of the high rate systems, in which hydraulic retention times (HRT) are uncoupled from solids retention times (SRT), has led to a worldwide acceptance of anaerobic wastewater treatment. In this paper, a brief literature on anaerobic digestion, anaerobic reactor technology and existing anaerobic treatment of pharmaceutical wastewater are presented. A case study of a laboratory investigation into the treatment of pharmaceutical wastewater containing antibiotics in an Up-Flow Anaerobic Stage Reactor (UASR) was also given. Specifically, it was determined whether a UASR could be used as a pre-treatment system at an existing pharmaceutical production plant. Results from this study showed a chemical oxygen demand (COD) reduction of 70 - 75% was achieved in the UASR.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Chelliapan S, Sallis PJ

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: Research Journal of Pharmaceutical, Biological and Chemical Sciences

Year: 2013

Volume: 4

Issue: 4

Pages: 1255-1261

Online publication date: 01/10/2013

ISSN (electronic): 0975-8585

Publisher: Research Journal of Pharmaceutical, Biological and Chemical Sciences