Fate of selected pharmaceuticals and synthetic endocrine disrupting compounds during wastewater treatment and sludge anaerobic digestion

Vasilios G Samaras, Athanasios S Stasinakis, Daniel Mamais, Nikolaos S Thomaidis, Themistokles D Lekkas
Journal of Hazardous Materials 2013 January 15, 244: 259-67
The concentrations of nine emerging contaminants, including pharmaceutically active compounds (PhACs) (ibuprofen, IBF; naproxen, NPX; diclofenac, DCF; ketoprofen, KFN) and endocrine disrupting chemicals (triclosan, TCS; bisphenol, BPA; nonylphenol, NP; nonylphenol monoethoxylate, NP1EO; nonylphenol diethoxylate, NP2EO), were determined in wastewater and sludge samples of two wastewater treatment plants (WWTPs) in Greece. Average concentrations in raw and treated wastewater ranged from 0.39 (KFN) to 12.52 μg L(-1) (NP) and from <LOD (IBF) to 0.80 μg L(-1) (DCF), respectively. A significant part of nonylphenols (NPs) and TCS in influent wastewater was bound to the particulate phase, while PhACs and BPA were mainly detected in the aqueous phase. Removal of target compounds during wastewater treatment ranged between 39% (DCF) and 100% (IBF). Except of DCF and BPA, similar removal efficiencies were observed in both WWTPs and no effect of WWTP's size and operational conditions was noticed. Use of mass balances showed that accumulation on sludge was a significant removal mechanism for NPs and TCS, while biodegradation/biotransformation was the major mechanism for the other compounds. Sampling of raw and digested sludge demonstrated that IBF and NPX are significantly removed (>80%) during anaerobic digestion, whereas removal of EDCs was lower, ranging up to 55% for NP1EO.

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