Advanced Oxidation Processes and Reverse Osmosis Treatment of Pharmaceutical in a Municipal Wastewater-Treatment-Plant Effluent

Wednesday, September 23, 2009: 2:10 p.m.
Darcy A. Sachs , O'Brien & Gere, Syracuse, NY
Patrick J. Phillips , USGS, Troy, NY
Scott A. Grieco, PE , O'Brien & Gere, Syracuse, NY
Tee Tong-Ngork , O'Brien & Gere, Syracuse, NY
Nick J. Destaffan , O'Brien & Gere, Syracuse, NY
From 2004 through 2008, the United States Geological Survey (USGS) has assessed the performance of several WWTPs to treat various emerging contaminant compounds, including 11 opiates, muscle relaxants and other pharmaceuticals.  During these assessments, it was noted that significant levels of pharmaceutical products are discharged from an extended aeration activated sludge municipal WWTP with tertiary treatment.  This WWTP collects wastewater from a pharmaceutical manufacturing facility (PMF), and has pharmaceutical contaminant concentrations ranging from 1 to over 1,000 mg/L. From this particular WWTP tertiary-treated effluent, the USGS sampling program has detected concentrations of:

·         Oxycodone

·         Hydrocodone

·         Methadone

·         Tramadol

·         Metaxalone

Recently, USGS and O’Brien & Gere Engineers, Inc. teamed to study the effectiveness of advanced oxidation processes (AOP) and reverse osmosis (RO) for treating the municipal WWTP effluent with high pharmaceutical concentrations.  The study assessed the effectiveness of pharmaceutical removal using four treatment technologies:

1.      Ozone (O3) and ultraviolet (UV)

2.      Ultraviolet (UV) catalyzed hydrogen peroxide (H2O2)

3.      Purifics Photocat®: Titanium dioxide (TiO2) photocatalyic AOP

4.      Reverse osmosis (RO) membrane

Testing involved the quantitative analysis of the opiates, muscle relaxants and other pharmaceuticals, as well as an additional 69 additional microconstituents/emerging contaminants treated by each technology.