Biological Removal of DMSO
For pharmaceutical companies, a smart approach mitigates risk and saves capital investment.
That lesson was reinforced when a pharmaceutical client turned to us to test a treatment option for the 7,500 gallons of dimethyl sulfoxide (DMSO) waste generated daily while manufacturing a pharmaceutical active compound.
We went to work in our laboratory to replicate a scenario with the potential to lower our client's costs by biologically treating DMSO onsite rather than shipping it off-site for disposal. The process involved long-term continuous-flow testing preceded by a 30-day window for the biomass to acclimate to the DMSO wastewater. Three identical laboratory-scale aerobic biological systems were constructed and monitored for temperature, oxygen uptake rates, chemical oxygen demand, total suspended solids and total volatile suspended solids, and mixed liquor suspended solids.
So, what was revealed? Inconsistency that could pose a serious treatment performance risk for our client. We recommended our client no longer consider on-site biological treatment, and instead consider a screening evaluation of some other technologies like chemical oxidation or anaerobic treatment.
While our client didn't get the green light to for this solution, they did dodge the huge risk and investment of retrofitting their current biological treatment plant before ensuring its viability.