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In California, the hospital (or any generator of the waste) would first
need to see whether the blowdown water was a hazardous waste as it left the
cooling tower, prior to any dilution. I will assume that the waste does
not fail the ignitable, corrosive or reactive criteria. California includes
acute toxicity (LD50) and aquatic toxicity as part of our waste
characterization scheme, so the wastes would have to satisfy both of those
standards. We have not set a "hazardous waste threshold" number for
glutaraldehyde, but past calculations of LD50 adjusted to dilution have
found hazardous waste levels between 2% and 5%. If the biocide being used
is a mixture of glutaraldehyde and other compounds, then the toxicity would
have to be calculated from the individual LD 50s weighted to their
proportions in the blowdown. Before running an aquatic bioassay, the
hospital might want to check with the manufacturer of the material and
check with other users to see what kind of results have!
been found to date. If others are finding it to be toxic, they can assume
it to be toxic and save themselves some lab money. If it passes haz waste
characterization, then it's up to the sanitary district as to whether it
can be sewered, and many of them have said that dilute glutaraldehyde does
not affect their systems. Don't forget that blowdown can have concentrated
minerals and metals, so they might want a metal analysis of typical
I would think that glutaraldehyde would certainly be an improvement over
the oxidizing-type of biocides, such as chrome 6! It has a short half-life
and no nasty residues or biaccummulative byproducts. It is nasty in
concentrated form, though.
>>> <email@example.com> 08/22/00 11:26AM >>>
Hello everyone. I apologize for cross postings.
One of my local hospitals is considering using an aqueous solution of
glutaraldehyde as a cooling tower biocide.
They intend to discharge the cooling tower "blow-down" (water mixed with the
glutaraldehyde) directly into the sanitary sewer system at a volume of
approximately 360 gallons per day (1/4 gallon per minute on average) with a
glutaraldehyde concentration of approx. 150 ppm in the effluent.
Do any other agencies allow discharge of glutaraldehyde into the sewer
Is glutaraldehyde a problem in the sanitary sewer system?
Is there a less toxic alternative?
I have searched the web for "glutaraldehyde" and for "cooling tower" and got
a lot of interesting information, but nothing about discharges to sewer
As always, any information you can share would be helpful. Thank
you! -Tracy Wyhlidko
Message sent by: Tracy Wyhlidko, Pretreatment Coordinator, City of Eureka,
4301 Hilfiker Lane, Eureka, CA 95503 Tel: (707) 441-4362, Fax: (707)