Biological Degradation of Pharmaceuticals in Municipal Wastewater Treatment: Proposing a Classification Scheme

Swiss Federal Institute of Aquatic Science and Technology, Eawag, 8600 Dübendorf, Switzerland.
Water Research (Impact Factor: 5.53). 06/2006; 40(8):1686-96. DOI: 10.1016/j.watres.2006.02.014
Source: PubMed


A simple classification scheme is suggested to characterize the biological degradation of micropollutants such as pharmaceuticals, musk fragrances and estrogens during wastewater treatment. The scheme should be a basis for the discussion about potential removal efficiencies. Hence, the biological degradation of 25 pharmaceuticals, hormones and fragrances was studied in batch experiments at typical concentration levels using activated sewage sludge originating from nutrient-eliminating municipal wastewater treatment plants. Since pseudo first-order degradation kinetics was observed for all compounds down to ng L(-1) levels, the removal rates can be predicted for various reactor configurations. Therefore dilution of wastewater (e.g. by extraneous water) is expected to reduce the degree of biological removal. Wastewater segregation and treatment at the source are therefore to be favoured for elimination of persistent micropollutants over centralized end-of-pipe treatment. For reactor configurations typical for nutrient removal in municipal wastewater, the derived formula for predicting removal allows the identification of three groups of micropollutants according to their degradation constant k(biol): compounds with k(biol)<0.1 L g(SS)(-1)d(-1) are not removed to a significant extent (<20%), compounds with k(biol)>10 L g(SS)(-1)d(-1) transformed by >90% and in-between moderate removal is expected. Based on the degradation of a heterogeneous group of 35 compounds (including literature data), state of the art biological treatment schemes for municipal wastewater are not efficient in degrading pharmaceuticals: only 4 out of 35 compounds are degraded by more than 90% while 17 compounds are removed by less than 50%.

119 Reads
  • Source
    • "The poor heterotrophic biomass activity in the aerobic stage because of the low organic content in the effluent of the UASB limited the biotransformation under aerobic conditions of some OMPs. In fact, the calculated aerobic k biol coefficients were significantly lower (Table 1) than those reported in previous works (Alvarino et al., 2014; Joss et al., 2006; Blair et al., 2015). In order to overcome this limitation, a pulse of OMPs (20 mg/L for estrogens and 100 mg/L for each of the other OMPs) and organic matter (140 mg TOC/L) was spiked in the aerobic chamber of the reactor system (by diluting OMPs in methanol) to increase the heterotrophic activity and to provide the experimental conditions to determine the maximum biodegradation coefficients. "
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: An innovative plant configuration based in an UASB reactor coupled to a hybrid aerobic membrane bioreactor designed for sustainable treatment of municipal wastewater at ambient temperatures and low hydraulic retention time was studied in terms of organic micropollutants (OMPs) removal. OMPs removal mechanisms, as well as the potential influence of biomass activity and physical conformation were assessed. Throughout all periods of operation (150 days) high organic matter removals were maintained (>95%) and, regarding OMPs removal, this innovative system has shown to be more efficient than conventional technologies for those OMPs which are prone to be biotransformed under anaerobic conditions. For instance, sulfamethoxazole and trimethoprim have both shown to be biodegradable under anaerobic conditions with similar efficiencies (removal efficiencies above 84%). OMPs main removal mechanism was found to be biotransformation, except in the case of musk fragrances which showed medium sorption onto sludge. OMPs removal was strongly dependent on the efficiency of the primary metabolism (organic matter degradation and nitrification) and the type of biomass.
    Chemosphere 02/2016; 144:452-458. DOI:10.1016/j.chemosphere.2015.09.016 · 3.34 Impact Factor
  • Source
    • "Pharmaceuticals and personal care products (PPCPs) have increasingly drawn attention due to their universal consumption as well as indiscriminate discharge to the aquatic environment. PPCPs residuals are usually drained into sewer or on-site sanitation system, while most wastewater treatment plants (WWTPs) lacks with PPCPs removal facility, resulting the release of these contaminants into surface water (Joss et al., 2006). Recent technologies such as; ozonation (Andreozzi et al., 2005), reverse osmosis (Kimura et al., 2009), and advanced oxidation process (Ternes et al., 2003), as well as process optimization (e.g. "
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Pharmaceuticals and personal care products (PPCPs) which are increasingly used, are released as human waste and drained into sewer or on-site sanitation system. Since most of the existing wastewater treatment options are not equipped with ability to treat such emerging contaminants as result health risks are increased. Constructed wetlands (CWs) have been used as low cost technology and operational alternatives to conventional wastewater treatment system, however its performance in removal of PPCPs has not yet been fully known. The study aimed to evaluate the performance of CWs in term of PPCPs removal. The study results revealed that concentration of Acetaminophen (ACT) was decreased with increasing hydraulic retention time (HRT) (i.e. 0, 3, 5 days). Such reduction were ranged 31.5-92.1%, and 53.1-99.5% in 5 days of HRT under initial concentrations of 1 ppb and 100 ppb, respectively. The dominance of degradation factors were found to be varied with initial PPCPs concentration. Under low concentration (1 ppb), reduction was mainly dominated by plant uptake ranged from 19-68%, which was followed by the microbial and photolytic degradation i.e. 24 -32%. In contrast, under high concentration (i.e. 100 ppb), plant uptake had less contribution i.e. 1-2% of total reduction. Whereas, microbial and photolytic degradation were found to be dominant process with contribution 53% of total reduction, which was followed by media adsorption i.e. 9%. With aspect of ROS, amount of H2O2 was found higher concentration in shoot as compared to root, and such low concentration was likely due to participation of H2O2 in PPCPs degradation.
    International Conference on Environment, Livehood, and Services, Bangkok, Thailand; 11/2015
  • Source
    • "They found very little elimination of this compound. This observation was consistent with those of Joss et al. [21]. Serrano et al. [22], operating an MBR reactor fed with spiked synthetic wastewater also found no significant removal of CBZ without the addition of pulverized activated carbon to the system. "
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Endocrine disrupting compounds, EDCs, are somewhat recently recognized pollutants which are often classed within ‘emerging micropollutants’ in the environment jargon. These compounds are known to interfere with the delicate balance of the endocrine system of animals and man, causing variety of undesirable outcomes. Their sources in natural waters are the domestic and industrial effluents. The main cause of concern with EDCs is their tendency to accumulate in fish causing gender shifts and reduced fecundity. Moreover, their possible interference with the water cycle and concurrent effects on the human endocrine system has been implicated. Increased usage of medication and surfactants in the household; pesticides in agriculture have all add up to the inventory of EDCs in the aqueous systems.
    The Chemical Engineering Journal 10/2015; 277. DOI:10.1016/j.cej.2015.04.115 · 4.32 Impact Factor
Show more

Similar Publications