The importance of wastewater treatment in the pharmaceutical industry and the processes most used

The wastewater of the pharmaceutical industry varies greatly in flow and composition, depending on factors such as the type of production, the specific preparation being carried out and which activities generate wastewater. All these variables mean that the pollution of the final effluent can be very variable and can define the types of processes and tactics addressed in the final wastewater treatment.

Generally, these wastewaters contain a wide variety of chemicals and biological matter, with different chemical characteristics.
Most wastewater is produced by washing equipment at the end of the production process. There are other smaller and more polluting quantities of water purification, cleaning of facilities, laboratory effluents and waste in general.

The best techniques for water treatment of the effluents generated by this type of industry will depend on each specific case, given its considerable variation and the wide range of possible compounds.

The discharge of pollutants from the water of the pharmaceutical industry and the wastewater treatment, is generally regulated by environmental protection authorities, ex Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), European Environment Agency (EEA), which set discharge limits for pharmaceutical compounds and is of total Responsibility of the company.

Main processes used in wastewater treatment

Biological process of activated sludge

The process is based on the application of aeration and settling physical concepts of an activated iodine layer by separating the water molecules and residues, if the pollution is biodegradable, it is a simple and efficient wastewater treatment process

Vacuum Compressors Mechanical Compressors

When wastewater pollution is complex and a biological process is not feasible or its nature varies greatly over time, vacuum evaporation of water with mechanical steam compression is a very efficient and affordable water treatment option with low energy costs. The steam is mechanically compressed to raise its temperature to provide super heated steam which gives up its energy in a heat exchanger to heat the water to evaporate while the vapor itself condenses. When working under vacuum, the boiling point and steam temperature range from 60 ° C to 90 ° C.

This vapor is converted into a slurry, reducing the volume of the waste and achieving an optimal treatment level, resulting in 100% treated wastewater

Anaerobic digestion process

When wastewater contains a high concentration of biodegradable organic matter without toxic or inhibitory substances, treating it with an anaerobic digestion process can be efficient and economical. Since it is anaerobic, it not only saves aeration of the process but also generates bio gas that can be converted relatively easily into heat and electricity.

Advanced oxidation process

Definitively, the most efficient process of wastewater treatment against residues with high content of volatile and persistent toxic subsystems and with low concentration of organic material. Advanced oxidation refers to a wide range of technologies, most of which are based on the generation of hydroxyl radicals or the supply of energy necessary to destroy the pollutant molecule. These techniques are especially competitive for the elimination of halogenated hydrocarbons, detergents, dyes, etc.