Practical Guidelines For Engineers, Owners, And Operators: Can Advanced Oxidation Aid The Destruction Of Pharmaceutical Compounds?
By Edward G. Helmig
Advanced oxidation processes (AOPs) and technology (AOT) have been around for more than 25 years and they are now being deployed more frequently as an at-source and end-of-pipe treatment technology for the destruction of active pharmaceutical ingredients (APIs) and bio-refractory compounds. In the pharmaceutical industry in particular, it is of great concern that APIs are now listed on the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) Contaminant Candidate List (CCL), and may be targeted for future regulation under the Safe Drinking Water Act (SDWA).
Some notable CCL-4 APIs include: 17-alpha estradiol, equilenin, erythromycin, nitroglycerin, norethindrone, and quinoline. Other more seemingly benign (but often refractory) compounds, including over-the-counter (OTC) medicines such as acetaminophen, ibuprofen, and naproxen have been detected in water samples, including drinking water source and tap samples, and have thus been designated as compounds of emerging concern (CECs).
Furthermore, certain pathogenic bacteria, including Legionella often found in cooling water and heating ventilation air conditioning (HVAC) systems are now included in the EPA’s CCL 4 list and are also controllable via ozone and AOP processes. AOP processes also have application in pulp and paper, chemicals, and food processing industries, most notably for color removal. In short, this is an area of rapidly growing industrial application, and it is very important to understand the scientific principles, engineering design, and process safety aspects of these technologies.
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