Wastewater Treatment Process Development and Treatment System Design, AstraZeneca Manufacturing and Supply Facility

Coppell, Texas, United States

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We provided treatability testing, process development, design and construction engineering services for a new wastewater treatment system to support the expansion of a pharmaceutical production facility.

AstraZeneca manufactures the sole global supply of a medicine in its portfolio at its facility in Coppell, Texas. The drug’s production generates two types of process wastewater: wastewater with very high silica concentrations and wastewater with lower silica concentrations. The low-silica concentration wastewater produced at AstraZeneca’s facility in Coppell, Texas, was discharged to the municipal sewer system, while the high-silica concentration wastewater was hauled off-site and discarded in a landfill at significant cost.

With no established treatment method in the industry for this unique wastewater, AstraZeneca engaged AECOM to identify a viable process that would provide significant sustainability benefits by reducing the amount of treated high-silica waste hauled off to a landfill while also facilitating the reduction in operating cost and increase in the production capacity at its expanding manufacturing facility.

Our approach

We investigated chemical/physical treatment options including pH adjustment and cation addition to facilitate precipitation. pH adjustment using acid was selected as the preferred treatment approach. We also worked with suppliers of solids-dewatering equipment to evaluate alternate dewatering technologies for the precipitated solids.

We progressed quickly through laboratory and pilot-scale studies to conceptual and then detailed design of the new wastewater treatment system, which included chemical treatment tanks and a new filter press. We developed piping and instrumentation diagrams, an equipment list, and permitting and construction drawings. Such drawings included arrangements, foundation and support structures, pipe routing, and electrical and instrumentation drawings. We used 3D modeling to overcome space constraints and avoid conflicts.

Following the mobilization of AstraZeneca’s contractor, we were retained to support construction by reviewing and responding to RFIs and other submittals.


Our new treatment method enabled AstraZeneca to eliminate approximately 80% of their landfill waste, reduce their waste treatment costs by 90% while also increasing the manufacturing site’s production capacity.