A pharmaceutical multinational industry with two production centers in Catalonia (Barcelona area) had WWTP with low features. The new environmental regulation of the Autonomous Government forced the construction of a new plant that allowed to meet the corresponding regulation. Although their discharges are made to a municipal discharge system, the high loads of the waters forced a multiple phase design in order to meet the desired values.

The owners ordered the design and construction of a new plant in one of their factories to a prestigious engineering company from Barcelona. The process comprised the installation of an equalization tank, clarifier, two biological systems one after the other, the first one is trickling filter with filter media BIOFILL® type A and the second one is active sludge, in the end of the process is a chemical physical-chemical system, apart from the sludge decantation and dewatering.

The first biological system is a high charge trickling filter, built in 1989, that eliminates a great part of the dissolved contamination. The system still works with the same filter media BIOFILL® type A without having had to replace it nor add more.

Pharmaceutical industry (1989)
Trickling filter - Pharmaceutical industry (1989)

The success of the performance was so much that two years later the property ordered the same engineering company with an identical plant for their other factory in Catalonia.

Therefore, we would have not three but four success cases of BIOFILL® type A, three of them for 26 years and the fourth for 24 years.


The result was spectacular by installing the trickling filter before the physical-chemical in all cases, activating equalization and from here feeding the physical-chemical. This allowed to:

  1. Eliminate the dissolved organic charge to limits that allowed to discharge the treated water to the river, meeting the regulation for specially protected areas.
  2. Reduce drastically the chemicals consumption.
  3. Reduce sludge production to less than a half.
  4. Reduce the operational costs to less than a half.

The filter media BIOFILL® type A installed for the projects has not needed to be replaced in any of the cases. Later on, this system has been usually used, not only in textile industry, but also in other industrial sectors.