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SBR Technologies designs a biological treatment systems that results in 95-99% removal efficiencies for a Japanese pharmaceuticals production company

Challenge

A major pharmaceutical company in Japan recently converted from the use of trichloroethylene (TCE) to 1,2-dichloroethane (also known as ethylene dichloride or EDC) for extraction and purification of pharmaceuticals. The client hired SBR Technologies, Inc. to assist in the development and testing of innovative pilot scale systems for the biological treatment of solvent bearing wastewater generated from the extraction/purification process.

SBR Technologies Solution

Two periodically operated fixed-film reactors of slightly different design are being tested in parallel studies which are currently underway at the pharmaceutical plant in Japan. The major organic contaminant in the wastewater is 300 to 400 mg/L of EDC. Because EDC is volatile, the treatment systems are designed and operated to promote biodegradation and minimize volatilization.

Benefits Achieved

After 90 days of continuous operation, these systems achieved overall EDC removal efficiencies of 95-99%, with biodegradation accounting for greater than 98% of the removal. Less than 2% of the influent EDC was volatilized in the system. Operating strategies are being modified to reduce volatilization to below 1% and increase process throughput.