Occurrence and removal of pharmaceuticals, caffeine and DEET in wastewater treatment plants of Being, China

POPs Research Centre, Department of Environmental Science & Engineering, Tsinghua University, Beijing 10084, China.
Water Research (Impact Factor: 5.53). 08/2009; 44(2):417-26. DOI: 10.1016/j.watres.2009.07.010
Source: PubMed


The occurrence and removal of 13 pharmaceuticals and 2 consumer products, including antibiotic, antilipidemic, anti-inflammatory, anti-hypertensive, anticonvulsant, stimulant, insect repellent and antipsychotic, were investigated in four wastewater treatment plants (WWTPs) of Beijing, China. The compounds were extracted from wastewater samples by solid-phase extraction (SPE) and analyzed by ultra-performance liquid chromatography coupled with tandem mass spectrometry (UPLC-MS/MS). Most of the target compounds were detected, with the concentrations of 4.4 ng L(-1)-6.6 microg L(-1) and 2.2-320 ng L(-1) in the influents and secondary effluents, respectively. These concentrations were consistent with their consumptions in China, and much lower than those reported in the USA and Europe. Most compounds were hardly removed in the primary treatment, while their removal rates ranging from -12% to 100% were achieved during the secondary treatment. In the tertiary treatment, different processes showed discrepant performances. The target compounds could not be eliminated by sand filtration, but the ozonation and microfiltration/reverse osmosis (MF/RO) processes employed in two WWTPs were very effective to remove them, showing their main contributions to the removal of such micro-pollutants in wastewater treatment.

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    • "Many organic compounds remain after conventional secondary wastewater treatment and disinfection, such as acesulfame, carbamazepine, iopamidol and sucralose (Buerge et al., 2009; Scheurer et al., 2009). In contrast, other organic compounds such as caffeine are almost completely removed during secondary wastewater treatment (Sui et al., 2010; Thomas and Foster, 2005). This is consistent with the low caffeine concentration in RECL (68 ng L À1 ) relative to SEW (186,000 ng L À1 , Table S8). "
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    • "This is mainly due to the increased consumption of drugs worldwide, demographic changes and observed medicinal development progress (Hughes et al., 2013). The potential threat to aquatic wildlife coming from the presence of drugs in the environment is amplified by topics still not fully explored such as the persistence of drugs in the environment, their ecotoxicity and bioaccumulation (Fent et al., 2006; Vanderford and Snyder, 2006; Kasprzyk-Hordern et al., 2008; Benotti et al., 2009; Sui et al., 2010; Yu et al., 2011; Salem et al., 2012; Nodler et al., 2013). "
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    • "The major sources of antibiotic residues in the environment include wastewater from hospitals, households, livestock farming, and pharmaceutical factories. Wastewater can contain extremely complex mixtures of various antibiotics and other drugs, such as cefalexin (CLX), chloramphenicol (CHL), carbamazepine (CAR), ibuprofen (IBU), and naproxen (NAP) (Sui et al., 2010; Krko sek et al., 2014). These kinds of pharmaceuticals can reach wastewater treatment plants (WWTPs) from different routes and are usually detected at levels ranging from ng L À1 up to mg L À1 not only in domestic and hospital effluents but also in effluents of pharmaceutical manufacturing facilities, which can present higher levels, reaching concentrations up to the mg L À1 range (Lin et al., 2009; Yang et al., 2014). "
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