The aim of this study is to characterize the wastewater from an opium alkaloid processing plant and to evaluate alternative treatment techniques to upgrade an existing full-scale biological activated sludge treatment plant having problems of high residual COD and unacceptable dark brown color. In this content firstly, long term operational records of the two stage aerobic activated sludge treatment plant of the opium alkaloid factory located in Afyon province of Turkiye were evaluated. The operating results for the last three years were statistically analyzed and median and 95-percentile values were determined for the parameters including chemical and biological oxygen demand (COD and BOD5) and treatment efficiencies. Specific wastewater generation was found as 6.7 m3 per ton of the opium capsule processed. In the following stage of the study, three additional treatment processes were experimentally tested: anaerobic pretreatment, post treatment of aerobically treated effluents with lime and ozone. Pilot scale upflow anaerobic sludge blanket reactor (UASBR) experiments have demonstrated that about 70 percent of the incoming COD can be removed anaerobically. Chemical treatability studies with lime for the aerobically treated effluent have shown that about 78 percent color and 46 percent COD removals can be obtained with lime dosage of 25 gl−1. Post treatment of the effluents of the existing two stage aerobic treatment with ozone also resulted in significant color and COD reduction.

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