Hospital wastewater contains high concentrations of pharmaceuticals, which pose risks to receiving waters. In this study, a pilot plant consisting of six MBBRs in series (with the intention to integrate BOD removal, nitrification and denitrification as well as prepolishing COD for ozonation) was built to integrate pharmaceutical removal and intermittent feeding of the latter reactors aimed for micropollutant removal. Based on the experiments, nitrifying MBBRs achieved higher removal as compared to denitrifying MBBRs except for azithromycin, clarithromycin, diatrizoic acid, propranolol and trimethoprim. In the batch experiment, nitrifying MBBRs showed the ability to remove most of the analysed pharmaceuticals, with degradation rate constants ranging from 5.0 × 10-3 h-1 to 2.6 h-1. In general, the highest degradation rate constants are from the nitrifying MBBRs while the latter MBBRs showed lower degradation rate constant. However, when the degradation rate constants were normalised to the respective biomass, the intermittently fed reactors presented the highest specific activity. Out of the 22 compounds studied, 17 compounds were removed with more than 20%.
- Hospital wastewater