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The pharmaceutical manufacturing can be described as a process, where solid and liquid ingredients, and chemical materials are mixed in compounding operations to produce solutions, syrups, suspensions, pastes, and ointments that eventually can be used as medications for humans or animals.
During many of these production steps a significant amount of water is used, that need to be treated before it can be reused or discharged into the public wastewater system. The production process also generates off-gases that need to be treated before release into the atmosphere.
The air pollutants of the pharmaceutical production are most likely volatile organic compounds (VOCs) and particulate matter (PM). Liquid effluents come from equipment cleaning and can contain toxic organic residues based on the composition of the product, the ingredients used in the process, and other specific process details. Cooling waters, that usually are recirculated, also needs some degree of treatment.