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N-nitrosamines in electroplating and printing/dyeing industrial wastewater treatment plants: Removal efficiency, environmental emission, and the influence on drinking water.

Water Research 2024 March 28
The discharge of industrial wastewater containing high concentrations of N-nitrosamines to the aquatic environment can impair downstream source waters and pose potential risks to human health. However, the transport and fate of N-nitrosamines in typical industrial wastewater treatment plants (IWWTPs) and the influence of these effluents on source water and drinking water are still unclear. This study investigated nine N-nitrosamines in four full-scale electroplating (E-) and printing/dyeing (PD-) IWWTPs, two drinking water treatment plants (DWTPs) in the lower reaches of these IWWTPs, and the corresponding tap water in South China. The total concentrations of N-nitrosamines (∑NAs) were 382-10,600, 480-1920, 494-789, and 27.9-427 ng/L in influents, effluents, source water, and tap water, respectively. The compositions of N-nitrosamine species in different influents varied a lot, while N-nitrosodi-n-butylamine (NDBA) and N-nitrosodimethylamine (NDMA) dominated in most of the effluents, source water, and tap water. More than 70 % N-nitrosamines were removed by wastewater treatment processes used in E-IWWTPs such as ferric-carbon micro-electrolysis (Fe/C-ME), while only about 50 % of N-nitrosamines were removed in PD-IWWTPs due to the use of chlorine reagent or other inefficient conventional processes such as flocculation by cationic amine-based polymers or bio-contact oxidation. Therefore, the mass fluxes of N-nitrosamines discharged from these industrial wastewaters to the environment in the selected two industrial towns were up to 14,700 mg/day. The results based on correlation and principal component analysis significantly demonstrated correlations between E-and PD-effluents and source water and tap water, suggesting that these effluents can serve as sources of N-nitrosamines to local drinking water systems. This study suggests that N-nitrosamines are prevalent in typical IWWTPs, which may infect drinking water systems. The findings of this study provide a basis data for the scientific evaluation of environmental processes of N-nitrosamines.

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