This paper reports a comprehensive wastewater pollution abatement program implemented at a plant producing pharmaceutical products by fermentation. The production is mainly devoted to tetracycline, oxytetracycline derivatives and to gentamicin sulfate, using different agricultural sources. The studies were undertaken in a context that covered all the principal components necessary for an industrial control program: wastewater characterization and pollution profile, treatability evaluation, description of the most suitable technology. Extensive studies were carried out to assess the treatability characteristics of process wastes as well as waste combinations. Pertinent kinetic constants were determined in lab-scale experiments. The availability of air regularly discharged from the processing plant made an aerobic process an economically attractive treatment system.A fraction of the cooling discharges was mixed with process wastes in the planning and design of the treatment flow scheme (a) to lower the BOD concentration below 2000 mgl−1, and (b) to provide an equalization and buffering capacity for hydraulic and toxic shocks.

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