Date of Graduation


Document Type


Degree Name

Bachelor of Science in Chemical Engineering

Degree Level



Chemical Engineering


Ackerson, Michael

Committee Member/Reader

Penney, Roy


Due to the increasing prevalence of prescription medication over the past few decades, pharmaceuticals have accumulated in various water sources. This has become a public health concern because many pharmaceuticals have limited research on the effects of chronic low-levelexposure. According to the World’s Health Organization (WHO), traces of pharmaceuticalsproducts have been reported in different water sources such as surface waters, wastewater, groundwater, and drinking water.[1] One pharmaceutical of interest that has been detected in water sources is carbamazepine. Carbamazepine (CBZ) is a common pharmaceutical prescribedfor the treatment of seizure disorders, neuropathic pain, and various psychological disorders. It’s mechanism of action is “sodium channel blocking,” which is the impairment of conduction ofsodium ions in sodium channels. This, in effect, reduces nervous-system conductivity in key areas related to the treated disorders mentioned above.[2]

Carbamazepine is also not easily biodegradable and current conventional treatment methods in some drinking water and wastewater facilities do not adequately remove carbamazepine and other pharmaceuticals from treated water. While carbamazepine is not federally regulated by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) under the Safe Water Drinking Act (SWDA) at this time, it does have the potential for producing adverse health effects in humans. Therefore, being proactive in finding ways to remove carbamazepine and compounds like it should be encouraged. The Carbamaza-Clean team designed a bench scale unit as well as an in-home treatment system using granular activated carbon (GAC) to effectively remove carbamazepine from water. GAC was chosen for this design because it is inexpensive and does not create by-products that are harmful to human health.