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Pharmaceutical Manufacturing Facility - 2009

In 2009, a pharmaceutical manufacturing facility requested an intern to evaluate wastewater pretreatment options. The facility anticipated changes in its wastewater discharge agreement with the village. David Follansbee, a doctoral student in Chemical Engineering at Rensselaer who is researching the removal of dissolved organics from water, was selected to work with the facility. Mr. Follansbee systematically reviewed wastewater generation at the plant, focusing on identifying which departments and activities generated process water. The process wastewater was analyzed for the parameters requested by the village wastewater treatment plant staff, including Chemical Oxygen Demand (COD). COD concentration levels can indicate active pharmaceutical ingredients as well as sugars, starches, biodegradable cleaning agents, and other dissolved organic compounds. Samples were aerated, oxidized with sodium hypochlorite, and/or filtered through an anthracite filter, and analyzed for COD. Oxidation with hypochlorite, followed by filtration reduced COD concentrations in samples, indicating that the process wastewater may be amenable to oxidation followed by filtration. This supports information Mr. Follansbee found in literature on the effectiveness of using chlorine to oxidize phenolic and amino functional groups of organic compounds. Mr. Follansbee recommended additional testing with known solutions to determine reaction mechanisms and reaction products. Mr. Follansbee worked closely with the P2 Intern at the village wastewater treatment plant on the analyses as well as sharing project ideas.

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