Pharmaceutical wastewater treatment by AOP and biofilter
Lum, Benny Jun Kit
Date of Issue2016-05-24
School of Civil and Environmental Engineering
With the uprising importance of the pharmaceuticals and personal care products (PCPs), more issues with regards to the environmental impact produced by these products are of major concern. They are classified as Emerging Contaminants (ECs) where their presences are increasingly being detected at trace amount in aquatic life. Being ubiquitous in the environment, it is not surprising to also detect pharmaceuticals in wastewater treatment effluents, surface water and also groundwater all over the world. With the increasing knowledge on the known effects of the exposure to humans, it has raised the attention globally, leading to new solutions being constantly developed to tackle these pollutants in the wastewater such as optimising the wastewater treatment efficiency or by physical methods to increase removal efficiency via Coagulation and Flocculation. This study focuses on a pharmaceutical company and their removal efficiency of COD at the on-site wastewater treatment plant. Due to confidentiality, this report will not mention the company cooperated. Initial wastewater characterisation was done to have an in depth understanding on the chemical composition on the wastewater as well as the removal efficiency of each treatment unit based on the COD removal before and after each treatment unit. By doing so, it will allow us to quantify and single out the unit(s) that possess the lowest efficiency in COD removal. Of all the treatment units, it is seen that the lowest efficiency of COD removal is the biofilter followed by the aeration tank. As observed from a site visit, the colour of the activated sludge was dark brown which indicates that it is unhealthy hence live/dead staining was conducted to ascertain the level of biological activity of the activated sludge in the aeration tank. Subsequently, the final effluent discharge into the PUB drainage was also being studied to reduce the COD as much as possible using coagulation method. The 3 coagulants used are Poly Aluminium Chloride (PACl), Alum and Ferric (III) Chloride (FeCl3) being added into the final effluent discharge and the results show that PACl and FeCl3 perform the best in terms of reducing the COD even further. Thereafter, cost and benefit analysis was being done to determine if the implementation of the proposed solution will be effective in reducing the monthly tariffs that the pharmaceutical company has to pay.
Final Year Project (FYP)
Nanyang Technological University