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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