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The Application of UV Technology To Pharmaceutical Water Treatment

Bakthisaran Srikanth, M.S. Chem. Eng. Aquafine Corporation

he degree of reduction in the bacterial population is directly dependent upon the applied UV dosage. It must be noted that UV treatment, just as chlorination or ozonation, is a Disinfection mechanism. Disinfection is a 3 to 6 log reduction in the influent

ltraviolet (UV) light represents a powerful technology that has been successfully deployed in several diverse industries such as pharmaceutical, semiconductor, power generation, food & beverage, cosmetics, aquaculture, health care, etc. for several decades. This paper will focus on the application of UV technology particularly in the pharmaceutical and biotechnology industries to assist in the production of high-purity water. While the most common application of UV radiation in water treatment is Disinfection, its powerful energy can also be harnessed for other applications such as TOC (Total Oxidizable Carbon) Reduction, Ozone Destruction, and Chlorine/Chloramine Destruction. he use of UV technology for water treatment has several inherent advantages. UV radiation does not add anything to the water stream such as undesirable color, odor, chemicals, taste or flavor, nor does it generate harmful by-products. It only imparts energy to the water stream in the form of ultraviolet radiation. It is fast, effective, efficient, and environment friendly.

True Sanitary Design Sterilizable

The advanced USD Units feature steam-sterilizable stainless steel Socket-Lok for use with high water temperatures.


Sensor Housing
360 o -


Intensity Monitor

Ended Lamp



microbial levels. Disinfection is not a sterilizing mechanism which would, by definition, require the complete absence of all viable microorganisms. Most of the common waterborne pathogenic microorganisms can be inactivated using a UV dosage of <15,000 W-sec/ cm2. he most common application of UV radiation in water treatment is Disinfection. There are several locations within a pharmaceutical water system where UV equipment could be installed for Disinfection. The typical locations are: post-carbon filter for Disinfection UV, pre-RO for Disinfection, within the polishing loop for TOC Reduction and Disinfection, and so on. A UV disinfection system installed downstream of the carbon beds and/or directly upstream of the RO unit will significantly reduce the microbial counts by destroying at least 99.9% of the bacteria present in the influent stream.
In recent years, the design of UV equipment has certainly witnessed a quantum leap forward in order to meet the requirements and specification of the present and future pharmaceutical plants.


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Advanced Multi-Unit Skid-Mounted USD (Universal Sanitary Design) Series

wo different UV wavelengths are employed in water treatment, the 254 nm and the 185 nm. The 254 nm (1 nm = 10-9 m = 10 ) UV light (also called the germicidal light due to its unique ability to destroy microorganisms) is employed in Disinfection and Ozone Destruction applications. It penetrates the outer cell wall of the microorganism, passes through the cell body, reaches the DNA (deoxyribonucleic acid) and alters the genetic material. The microorganisms are thereby destroyed in a non-chemical manner. The 254 nm UV light can also destroy residual ozone present in a water stream. The 185 nm UV light, utilized in TOC Reduction application, decomposes the organic molecules. The 185 nm light carries more energy than the 254 nm light. The 185 nm light generates hydroxyl (OH ) free radicals from water molecules.

TOC Reduction
he variables that would impact the UV TOC Reduction process in high-purity water application under ambient conditions are::
Applied UV Dosage Organic characteristic and composition of the water stream Oxygen/oxidizer content of the water Internal geometry and lamp configuration within the reactor

Ozone Destruction (Cont.)

involved can be guaranteed to completely destroy the ozone in the water, and thereby help insure the integrity of the process and the product. As a general rule-of-thumb, a UV dosage of 90,000 W-s/cm2 is required to completely destroy 1.0 ppm (1.0 mg/L) of residual ozone.

UV Dosage (Cont.)
ne of the major new developments is the VCD (Vertical Cylinder Design) Series of UV units, where the UV treatment chamber is mounted perpendicular to the ground. Such a design results in significant savings in floor space when compared to the horizontally mounted UV units, where the flow is parallel to the ground.

he new USP (United States Pharmacopoeia) 23 regulations call for an upper limit of 500 ppb for TOC for both USP Purified Water as well as for Water-For-Injection. This

stipulation requires the proper control of the TOC levels by designing the water system to deliver

Preferred especially in pharmaceutical applications, our sanitary fittings eliminate potential contamination points that are possible with threaded connections.

The Aquafine SP and SL Series are compact and economical units for low flow applications which may be configured for TOC Reduction or Ozone Destruction.

water containing <500 ppb of TOC. This, in turn, requires the incorporation of appropriately sized and strategically located 185 nm UV equipment.

UV Dosage
or a given UV unit, one of the ways in which the dosage can be increased is by decreasing the flow rate through the unit, since decreasing the flow rate lengthens the residence time of the water in the UV unit. Yet another novel method of enhancing the efficiency of the process is by incorporating a baffle system within the UV reaction chamber.
USP 23 Water Specifications for TOC & Bacteria
Parameter TOC, ppb Purified Water 500 WFI 500 10/100 mL

Ozone Destruction
zone is commonly utilized in the pharmaceutical industry to sanitize the storage tanks, vessels, piping, and auxiliary equipment such as pumps, valves, etc., and to insure that they remain bacteria free. The residual ozone needs to be destroyed prior to the point-of-use, so that it does not contaminate the product. UV technology is the technology of choice for this application due to its nonchemical and fast mechanism. A UV unit, properly sized, after taking into account the various variables

technology has several useful applications in the Pharmaceutical and Biotechnology industries. The new USP 23 regulations have placed a greater responsibility on the process system design engineers as well as on the water system manufacturers. The power of UV technology can be successfully applied with other water treatment unit operations to produce a synergistic effect and produce water that meets or exceeds USP 23 regulations. or more information on your specific application requirements you may contact Aquafine at s a l e s @ a q u a f i n e u v. c o m , 661.257.4770, 800.423.3015 (outside CA) or via fax at 661.257.2489.


Bacterial counts, 100/mL cfu

Contaminants directly treatable by UV technology.