Pharmaceutical compounds are a class of chemical substances that are specifically designed to treat; activated sludge is a popular wastewater treatment process that has been used for decades to remove a variety of pollutants from municipal and industrial wastewaters. This process involves the use of a mixture of microorganisms to break down organic matter in the wastewater, converting it into carbon dioxide, water, and other substances that are less harmful to the environment.
Pharmaceuticals are a class of emerging contaminants that have been increasingly detected in wastewater treatment plants around the world. These compounds, which include antibiotics, analgesics, hormones, and other drugs, are not completely removed by conventional wastewater treatment processes, including activated sludge. Several studies have investigated the removal of pharmaceuticals in activated sludge, and while the results are promising, the process is complex and depends on several factors. In this article, we will discuss the various factors that affect the removal of pharmaceuticals in activated sludge and the mechanisms involved in the process.
Several factors can affect the removal of pharmaceuticals in activated sludge, including the type of pharmaceutical, the concentration of the pharmaceutical, the Hydraulic Retention Time (HRT), the temperature, and the presence of other organic matter in the wastewater.
Different pharmaceuticals have different chemical structures, and this can affect their removal in activated sludge. For example, compounds with high hydrophobicity, such as Non-Steroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drugs (NSAIDs) and some antibiotics, are often poorly removed by activated sludge due to their low solubility in water.