This study deals with the ozonation of amoxicillin in real pharmaceutical wastewater and its efficacy as a pre-treatment, prior to biological degradation by a mixed culture of bacteria in a sequencing batch reactor (SBR). An ozone utilization of 0.27 g/g-COD (chemical oxygen demand) lowered the pH of the wastewater to 6.6, reduced the specific ultraviolet absorption by 43% and increased the biochemical oxygen demand (BOD) concentration by 37%. The BOD:COD ratio became equal to 0.89, making the ozonated wastewater seemingly suitable for biological treatment; however, when the ozonated effluent was fed to the SBR, the reactor performance degraded, an effect which was attributed to ozonation by-products. In conclusion, ozonation might not be a suitable pre-treatment for pharmaceutical wastewater containing amoxicillin, and biotreatment with properly acclimated biomass may be a better option for treatment of such pharmaceutical wastewater.

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