Physicochemical treatment of pharmaceutical process wastewater: distillation and membrane processes


  • András József Tóth
  • Felicián Gergely
  • Péter Mizsey


This work provides physicochemical solutions for the treatment of process wastewaters of fine chemical industries, that is, pharmaceutical industry. Economical methods are recommended for practical use, which can reduce the disposal ratio of the process wastewaters with higher values of chemical oxygen demand (COD) and Adsorbable Organically Bound Halogens (AOX) than the corresponding emission limits. Such treatment alternatives are also the part of environmental sustainability. The work reviews the theoretical background of the problem and gives options for using the waste management hierarchy chart. Then the general features of pharmaceutical process wastewaters and the treatment methods are summarized. In the algorithm developed for process wastewater treatment, the distillation is the core of the physicochemical treatment alternatives. In the case of the real industrial case studies, the distillation and membrane filtration laboratory experiments and cost calculations prove the efficiency of the selected physicochemical treatment options.


waste management, solvent regeneration, distillation, membrane process, process wastewater treatment, COD reduction, cost calculation

How to Cite

József Tóth, A., Gergely, F., Mizsey, P. “Physicochemical treatment of pharmaceutical process wastewater: distillation and membrane processes”, Periodica Polytechnica Chemical Engineering, 55(2), pp. 59–67, 2011.