Rising concerns about water scarcity are becoming a serious problem in increasing locations, especially in those vulnerable to drought and water shortages. Industries like pharmaceutical that depend on high-quality process water for use in manufacturing may be severely affected by a declining water supply. Industrial businesses are increasingly putting water treatment measures into practise in order to reduce risks associated with potential water shortages and increase their water security.
One of the most important and essential requirements in the pharmaceutical sector is water. The pharmaceutical manufacturing facility uses a number of water treatment techniques, such as distillation, reverse osmosis, UV disinfection, evaporation, and aerobic/anaerobic treatment, amongst others. To meet regulatory standards or prevent the problem of water scarcity, these techniques treat, recycle, reuse, or release water into the environment.
Treating water before using it in the manufacturing of pharmaceuticals is essential. The typical source of water used to serve the pharmaceutical sector is underground water and water from nearby water treatment facilities. While clean water from water supply facilities frequently falls short of the manufacturing quality assurance standards, underground water sources are often characterized by high levels of dissolved materials, primarily manganese, calcium, and magnesium, and may need a greater degree of treatment pharmaceutical businesses must treat their input water sources to get rid of any contaminants or pathogens that could lower the quality of their products.
In the pharmaceutical sector, purified water is used and applied in a wide range of ways at all stages of the manufacturing process. Let’s look at a few instances of how water is used in the industry.
For some medicines, water could be a critical component. Ordinary water, including drinking water, contains traces of pollutants and toxins, hence cannot be used as a medicinal ingredient. For this use, purified and disinfected water must be supplied by a pharmaceutical water treatment system.
Boiler water treatment and cooling water treatment are two of the primary industrial water treatment procedures. Lack of adequate water treatment might cause bacteria and sediments in the boiler housing and pipes to interact. When left untreated, scale or corrosion in steam boilers can result in weak and unsafe machinery. Scale deposits can also mean that more fuel is needed to heat the same amount of water due to a loss in efficiency. Poorly filtered, unclean water can support the growth of bacteria like Legionella, endangering public health. A sizeable part of an industrial site’s waste water may be reusable with the right treatment. A cooling water system may develop scale, corrode, and stink, and it may become a home for harmful microorganisms without efficient water treatment. As a result, operations become unreliable and dangerous, efficiency is decreased, and plant life is shortened. Various water treatment technologies can be used to raise or improve the quality of water.
Pharmaceutical industries, which employ water as an ingredient or a process catalyst, place a high priority on the usage of purified and high-quality water. Pharmaceutical businesses also rely on filtered water to save money and achieve their environmental aims. The following are a few of the popular water treatment options. For efficient outcomes, these solutions can be applied singly or in combination.
To remove pollutants suspended in water, distillation uses the volatility (difference in vapor pressures) of the water. The water is heated to a boil in a specially designed multi-column distillation facility, and the fumes are then condensed to provide sterile water, which is commonly used for the manufacture of injectibles.
Known as one of the most effective methods for removing dissolved salts and minerals and reducing TDS levels, reverse osmosis (RO) is extensively used in the pharmaceutical industry and other fields where water is a vital resource and raw material. In reverse osmosis (RO), a high-pressure pump pushes water through a semi-permeable membrane that traps microorganisms in the water while allowing the “clean” water to pass, eliminating dissolved pollutants.
UV disinfection is a rapid, effective and inexpensive way to disinfect water for use in pharmaceutical manufacturing processes which require pathogen free water. During this process, UV sterilizers are used to expose the water to UV rays of specific wavelengths, which kill pathogens present in the water such as bacteria, viruses, algae, moulds, etc, and prevent them from replicating. One of the main applications of UV disinfection, aside from the manufacture of medical products, is Cleaning in Place (CIP), a method used in the pharmaceutical industry to clean the vessels, apparatus, pipelines, filters, and other accessories used in routine manufacturing activities. Not only does UV help pharmaceutical businesses to adhere to Good Manufacturing Practice requirements (GMP), but also ensures the safety of liquid orals and extends shelf life of such products.
About 99.99% of the water in pharmaceutical wastewater is in the form of dissolved particles, while the remaining 0.01% is made up of other substances. In general, pharmaceutical wastewater contains chemicals and solvents from quality control, pharmaceutical drugs (API and Excipients) from production, oil and grease from utility and maintenance,
Pharmaceutical wastewater contaminants are a major source of water contamination, so it is required to treat the wastewater and purify it to a prescribed level, especially in the case of reuse. Oil and grease, pH, suspended particles, biological oxygen demand/chemical oxygen demand levels and microorganisms are the key components of pharmaceutical plant waste streams that regulators are often concerned with. Technologies that minimize Chemical Oxygen Demand (COD), Biological Oxygen Demand (BOD), Total Suspended Solids (TSS), Total Dissolved Soils (TDS) and pathogens in the pharmaceutical effluent include preliminary treatment, aeration, neutralization, flocculation and coagulation, biological degradation, and UV disinfection. The required quality of the treated water is next tested, and then reused or discharged.
Extending the idea of water reuse, the adoption of zero liquid discharge is a significant trend in the pharmaceutical industry. No water is permitted to exit the plant under the ZLD principle. Plants use cutting-edge technology to clean, recycle, and reuse every drop of wastewater, including membrane filtering and thermal evaporation/crystallization.
Pre-treatment requirements were the main emphasis of water treatment in the past. While pre-treatment continues to be a crucial component, more businesses are taking greater responsibility for cleaning their wastewater streams. Water treatment tactics have grown to incorporate the entire design, rather than only focusing on the front end of the plant.
For the pharmaceutical sector, Alfaa UV offers a wide variety of water treatment products. In order to satisfy your application needs, we offer tailored solutions. With the use of Alfaa UV’s solutions, numerous pharmaceutical procedures can use water that complies with FDA regulations. Industry-leading companies like Cipla, Dr. Reddys Laboratories Ltd., amongst numerous other large and small pharmaceutical companies use Alfaa UV water treatment solutions.
Ms. Rajul Parikh
Director – Alfaa UV
(Ace Hygiene Products Pvt. Ltd.)
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