How is Ozone used for Pharmaceutical Residual?

Ozone is the best solution for water treatment. But did you know that it is also the best option for wastewater treatment? Specially when it comes to pharmaceutical residual, which can be harmful. It is also extremely efficient to sanitize labs and utensils, in the pharmacy industry.

So how can ozone be effective in pharmaceutical residual wastewater treatment process and to keep everything disinfected? Keep reading and you’ll find your answer!

Pharmaceutical residues in wastewater present major environmental problems, as substances such as antibiotics (eg. amoxicillin and ciprofloxacin), beta-blockers and drugs such as morphine and codeine, which, due to their complex chemical structures, difficult and often impossible in wastewater treatment systems.

These substances will have adverse effects on fish, plants and entire ecosystems, and accumulate over time due to their non-biodegradable characteristics.

Dissolved ozone is used as a sanitizing agent throughout the pharmaceutical industry.

Among the alternatives available for water sanitation, ozone being a potent oxidizing agent that effectively breaks down chemical bonds in complex molecules, it is recognized as one of the best options for disinfecting biopharmaceutical water systems and is an efficient method to remove pharmaceuticals in wastewater.

Ozone has been used in different applications and extensively studied for more than 150 years, especially in water treatment, including the wastewater treatment process.

How does it work?

Ozone is used as an alternative to heat sanitizing with hot water and steam or chemical disinfection using chlorine, chlorides, peroxides and other chemicals. It is one of the strongest commercially available oxidizers, with a disinfectant strength 3,000 times greater than chlorine due to its high eV potential. Ozone is ideal to treat pharmaceutical residual.

Ozone kills bacteria, viruses, yeasts, fungi and other microbes as a function of time, susceptibility of target organisms (action), ozone concentration and water temperature, efficiently and safely.

Ozone is safe and economical because it can be generated reliably on site as needed, avoiding the handling and costs associated with transportation and storage of oxidants. It is generated at room temperature and is soluble in water at room temperature, increasing the ease of operation.

Ozonized water leaves no chemical residues, unlike other chemical sanitizing procedures, and ambient water returns to oxygen naturally. Therefore, it does not need to be washed like the sanitized water chemically.

Ozone is a viable and accepted technological option for water sanitation and one of the most effective technologies against biofilm mitigation.

In pharmaceutical & medical industry it is very essential to keep all of the process area, tanks, equipment, furniture in highly disinfected conditions, this is one of the most critical for all process & quality purposes and can very easily be achieved using ozone surface sanitation.

Washing and rinsing with highly dissolved ozone can quickly disinfect with no residual by-product to be further treated. Ozone gives extreme disinfection without the use of hot water or steam. Operation time is greatly reduced with confidence of process.


  • Preparation of pharmaceuticals, where it is used to sever carbon-carbon bonds;
  • Disinfect water instead of chlorine;
  • Disinfect and bleach clothes in factories (uniforms, cloths, …);
  • CIP (Clean In Place);
  • Deodorize air and objects;
  • Kill bacteria on contact surfaces;
  • Kill microorganisms in air and water sources;
  • Act as an antichlor bleach based on chlorine;
  • Ozone has been proven to molecularly break down dozens of widely used pharmaceticals such as Paracetamol, Codein, Propofol and Diclophenac;
  • Destroys active micropollutants commonly founded in wastewater effluents such as Antihypertensives (Hydrochlorothiazide or Metoprolol), Diuretics (Furosemide) and Sedatives (Oxazepam and Carbamazepine);
  • Water-intensive industries can make effective use of dissolved ozone as a substitute for chemical sanitizers, such as peracetic acid, hypochlorite, or heat;
  • Chemically attacks contaminants in the water (iron, arsenic, hydrogen sulfide, nitrites and aggregate organic compounds as “colour”);
  • Eradicate waterborne parasites, such as Giardia lamblia and Cryptosporidium, in surface water treatment plants;
  • Disinfect the cooling towers and control legionella with reduced consumption of chemicals, water leakage and increased performance;
  • Provide a flocculation aid (agglomeration of molecules, which aid in filtration, where iron and arsenic are removed);
  • Manufacture of chemical compounds by chemical synthesis;
  • And much more.


  • Environment friendly;

  • Safe and reliable sterilization agent;

  • Eliminates pharmaceutical residues from the production process wastewater;

  • Saves money by eliminating the on-going chemical costs;

  • No chemical transportation/storage – produced onsite;

  • Quicker sanitation: typical cycles are reduced up to 75%;

  • No harmful residuals that need to be removed after ozonization – ozone decomposes to oxygen;

  • Ozone has a powerful antimicrobial action.

Scientific Articles

Published: 2023

EMMANUEL I. EPELLE, ANDREW MACFARLANE, MICHAEL CUSACK, ANTHONY BURNS, JUDE A. OKOLIE, WILLIAM MACKAY, MOSTAFA RATEB, MOHAMMED YASEEN | February 15th | Ozone application in different industries: A review of recent developments

Published: 2021

EMILE S. M. MOUELE, JIMOH O. TIJANI, KASSIM O. BADMUS, OMONIYI PEREAO, OMOTOLA BABAJIDE, OJO O. FATOBA, CHENG ZHANG, TAO SHAO, EDUARD SOSNIN, VICTOR TARASENKO, KATRI LAATIKAINEN, LESLIE F. PETRIK | October | A critical review on ozone and co-species, generation and reaction mechanisms in plasma induced by dielectric barrier discharge technologies for wastewater remediation

JOHANNES POHL, OKSANA GOLOVKO, GUNNAR CARLSSON, STEFAN ÖRN, MONIKA SCHMITZ, EHSAN PAHAY AHI | August | Gene co-expression network analysis reveals mechanisms underlying ozone-induced carbamazepine toxicity in zebrafish (Danio rerio) embryos

SOFIA SVEBRANT, ROBERT SPÖRNDLY, RICHARD H. LINDBERG, THERESE OLSEN SKÖLDSTAM, JIM LARSSON, PATRIK ÖHAGEN, HANNA SÖDERSTRÖM LINDSTRÖM, JOSEF D. JÄRHULT | June 8th | On-Site Pilot Testing of Hospital Wastewater Ozonation to Reduce Pharmaceutical Residues and Antibiotic-Resistant Bacteria

Published: 2018

ARNOUD DE WILT, KOEN VAN GIJN, TOM VERHOEK, AMBER VERGNES, MIRIT HOEK, HUUB RIJNAARTS, ALETTE LANGENHOFF | July 1st | Enhanced pharmaceutical removal from water in a three step bio-ozone-bio process

Published: 2017

FABIAN SOLTERMANN, CHRISTIAN ABEGGLEN, MANFRED TSCHUI, SANDRO STAHEL, URS VON GUNTEN | June 1st | Options and limitations for bromate control during ozonation of wastewater

JOÃO GOMES, RAQUEL COSTA, ROSA M. QUINTA-FERREIRA, RUI C. MARTINS | May 15th | Application of ozonation for pharmaceuticals and personal care products removal from water

M. MARTINELLI, F. GIOVANNANGELI, S. ROTUNNO, C. M. TROMBETTA, E. MONTOMOLI | March | Water and air ozone treatment as an alternative sanitizing technology

Published: 2016

KAMILLA M. S. HANSEN, AIKATERINI SPILIOTOPOULOU, RAVI KUMAR CHHETRI, MÒNICA ESCOLÀ CASAS, KAI BESTER, HENRIK R. ANDERSEN | April 15th | Ozonation for source treatment of pharmaceuticals in hospital wastewater – Ozone lifetime and required ozone dose

CHRISTIAN BARESEL, JONAS MALMBORG, MATS EK, ROBERT SEHLEN | January | Removal of pharmaceutical residues using ozonation as intermediate process step at Linkoping WWTP, Sweden

Published: 2013

YAAL LESTER, HADAS MAMANE, INES ZUCKER, DROR AVISAR | September 1st | Treating wastewater from a pharmaceutical formulation facility by biological process and ozone

Published: 2012

STEFAN AEBI, BEN BATTAT, ANTHONY BEVILACQUA & OTHERS | July 26th | ISPE Good Practice Guide: Ozone Sanitization of Pharmaceutical Water Systems

Published: 2009

TIBIRIÇÁ G. VASCONCELOS, KLAUS KÜMMERER, DANIELLE M. HENRIQUES, AYRTON F. MARTINS | September 30th | Ciprofloxacin in hospital effluent: Degradation by ozone and photoprocesses

Published: 2008

A. RODRÍGUEZ, ROBERTO ROSAL, JOSE A. PERDIGÓN-MELÓN, M. MEZCUA | July | Ozone-Based Technologies in Water and Wastewater Treatment

Published: 2006


XIA ZHANG, PENGYU CHEN, FENG WU, NANSHENG DENG, JIANTONG LIU, TAO FANG | May 20th | Degradation of 17α-ethinylestradiol in aqueous solution by ozonation


TOOD BLONNSHINE, FOR Pharmaceutical Technology-04-02-2006 | April 2nd | Dissolved Ozone in Pharmaceutical Water Systems: How and Where to Measure Dissolved Ozone

Published: 2005

SAMUEL STUCKI, DIRK SCHULZE, DIETER SCHUSTER, CHRISTIAN STARK | January/February | Ozonization of Purified Water Systems

Published: 2004

DAVIDE VOGNA, RAFFAELE MAROTTA, ALESSANDRA NAPOLITANO, ROBERTO ANDREOZZI, MARCO D’ISCHIA | January | Advanced oxidation of the pharmaceutical drug diclofenac with UV/H2O2 and ozone

Published: 2003

THOMAS A. TERNES, JEANNETTE STÜBER, NADINE HERRMANN, DEREK McDOWELL, ACHIM RIED, MARTIN KAMPMANN, BERNHARD TEISER | April | Ozonation: a tool for removal of pharmaceuticals, contrast media and musk fragrances from wastewater?


MARC M. HUBER, SILVIO CANONICA, GUN-YOUNG PARK, URS VON GUNTEN | January 31st | Oxidation of Pharmaceuticals during Ozonation and Advanced Oxidation Processes

Published: 2000

C. ZWIENER, F. H. FRIMMEL | April 1st | Oxidative treatment of pharmaceuticals in water

Published: 1995