Technical feasibility of reuse of effluent generated from reverse osmosis system in a pharmaceutical plant

Bárbara de A. S. de Andrade, Paulo S. B. de Lacerda, Jaime L. M. Oliveira


Reuse reduces the consumption of freshwater supplies and the negative environmental impact caused by the discharge of industrial effluents. Some industries have already adopted this practice; however, no studies were found in the literature regarding this subject in the pharmaceutical industry. This work investigated the potential reuse of effluent (concentrate) generated from the Reverse Osmosis/Electro-deionization System (RO/EDI) that is used for the production of purified water in a Brazilian pharmaceutical plant. This industrial complex consumed about 200,000 m3 of water per year between 2012 and 2013 to produce one million of doses of vaccines, i.e., 2 L of water per dose of vaccine produced. During this period, the RO/EDI produced 27,000 m3 of purified water annually and generated 24,000 m3 of effluent (concentrate). This amount of effluent could be used to supply the production of industry steam (boilers) and/or cold water (cooling towers) that annually consumed an average of 12,000 m3 and 40,000 m3, respectively. The reuse of this effluent would result in a gross financial savings of 96,000 USD per year, excluding the costs of installation and control. From what has been researched in the literature, this work showed for the first time the possibility of reuse of effluent from RO/EDI System in the pharmaceutical industry.


effluent reuse; pharmaceutical industry; vaccine production.


Revista Ambiente & Água. ISSN:1980-993X DOI:10.4136/1980-993X

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