In today’s world, the most demanding and flourishing industry is effluent treatment Pharmaceutical Industry. However, as the pharmacy sector grows, it contributes to environmental issues. Its effluent is a mixture of many harmful and deleterious substances, causing many environmental concerns. Some contents of wastewater are biodegradable but mostly non-degradable, which has a pernicious effect on humans and aquatic life. Pharmaceutical wastewater has a complicated composition, with high concentrations of COD, BOD5, NH3-N, and high amounts of suspended particles. Treatment of effluent treatment  wastewater is very important as some researchers have detected un favourable pharmaceutical substances in water bodies. There are many preliminary techniques, i.e. Aeration, Neutralization, Filtration, Flocculation, Coagulation, etc.

Type of Wastewater Generation in Pharmaceutical Manufacturing Industry:

Generally, Pharmaceutical wastewater includes expired drugs, open containers of drugs that cannot be used, containers that hold acute hazardous waste drugs, spill cleanup material. is divided into categories based on nature discharged effluent:

1. Hazardous Wastes (Biopharmaceutical waste):

Biopharmaceutical waste includes metabolites, Inorganic and organic solvents, mycelium, supernatants, etc.

2. Non-Hazardous Wastes (Herbal Waste):

Herbal waste includes amino acid residues, natural biological organic matter, lignin, alkaloids, tannins, proteins, carbohydrates, starch, etc.

3. Chemo waste (Chemical Wastes):

Chemical Wastes include toxic chemicals released as a result of the various chemical reactions. Some toxic chemicals are steroids, nitro compounds, anilines, piperazine and fluorine, mercury, chromium copper, etc.

Characteristics of Wastewater

Pharmaceutical wastewater has a complicated composition, with a high concentration of organic matter, microbial toxicity, excessive salt, and low biodegradability. Furthermore, most pharmaceutical manufacturers operate on a batch basis, with diverse raw ingredients and manufacturing processes, resulting in a wide range of effluent. Due to the presence of various compounds, effluent has characteristic colour, odour, turbidity, macro pollutants, etc. The preliminary treatment removes 60% of harmful substances. Secondary treatment removes almost every harmful substance, making effluent safe to discharge.

Efficient Treatment Technology:

The conventional methods of treatment of pharmaceutical effluents are Coagulation, Sedimentation, Electrolysis, Photocatalytic Oxidation Method, Biological Contact Method, Fenton Method, etc. Advanced Oxidation process includes ozone/hydrogen peroxide treatment, Fenton oxidation, photocatalysis, electrochemical oxidation/degradation, ultrasound irradiation, wet air oxidation, etc.,

Below some methods are listed according to the type of Pharmaceutical Waste:

Hazardous Wastes (Biopharmaceutical waste) & Herbal Waste:

There are many conventional treatments available Incineration, Autoclaving, Secure Land Filling. The most common technology is the Moving Bed Bioreactor (MBBR), efficient treatment for biopharmaceutical water waste. It typically removes organic waste. In this technology, there are biomass carriers made of plastic with attached biofilm, which has a large surface area. It is very suitable because of its easy maintenance, simple to use, and short time duration. The MBBR is a suitable and reliable technique for dealing with the issues of pharmaceutical wastewater treatment. Also, SBR has made progress and proved a very effective treatment process. In Sequencing Batch Reactor (SBR), the main principle of SBR is the “Fill and Draw Principle”. It is automated and requires only one tank for all the tasks.

Chemo waste (Chemical Wastes):

Chemical waste is mostly treated by Thermal methods, Neutralization, Oxidation, etc. The most effective method is Incineration. In Incineration, chemical waste is burnt in specially built containers at high temperatures. It efficiently destroys chemical waste, but it may raise many environmental concerns, such as the emission of toxic gases. The chemical method includes Ion Exchange, precipitation, oxidation, reduction, and Neutralization. If incineration gases can be controlled, then Incineration is the best method so far.

Treatment of pharmaceutical effluent waste is a need of the hour; with the help of emerging technologies, the harms of effluent can be reduced to a larger extent.

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