Biotreatability studies of pharmaceutical wastewater using an anaerobic suspended film contact reactor

S V Mohan, R S Prakasham, B Satyavathi, J Annapurna, S V Ramakrishna
Water Science and Technology: a Journal of the International Association on Water Pollution Research 2001, 43 (2): 271-6
The pharmaceutical industrial effluents, which include several organic solvents and other toxic chemicals, are generally treated by aerobic process, which is cost intensive in nature. The alternative anaerobic route to degrade the toxic effluents is attractive due to the lower cost of treatment and the generation of gas, which can supplement the energy requirements. There are few reports on the anaerobic treatment of the pharmaceutical effluents. In the present investigation, the effluents from a bulk drug industry, which utilizes several organic chemicals, have been taken to assess their applicability for anaerobic treatment. The organic loading rates were varied from 0.25 kg/m3/day to 2.5 kg/m3/day and the COD reduction was found to be in the range of 60 to 80%. Long term operation of an anaerobic suspended film contact reactor carried out with 1.25 kg/m3/day was found to be optimum. The biogas generated during the degradation process was monitored and the methane content was found to be 60-70%.

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