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

ABSTRACT 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%.

110 Reads
  • 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.
    Chemical Engineering Journal 10/2015; 277. DOI:10.1016/j.cej.2015.04.115 · 4.32 Impact Factor
  • Source
    • "e l s e v i e r . c o m / l o c a t e / b i o r t e c h (Jelic et al., 2012; Joss et al., 2006; Zhang and Geiben, 2010). The key issue for applying the white-rot fungus technology in practice is to design and establish a suitable white-rot fungus reactor. "
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: A countercurrent seepage bioreactor immobilized with P. chrysosporium was continuously operated under non-sterile conditions to treat a synthetic wastewater spiked with naproxen and carbamazepine (1,000 µg/L each) for 165 days. There were no serious bacterial contaminations occurred during the operational period. Naproxen was always removed to the undetectable level regardless of the experimental conditions, while the average removal efficiency for carbamazepine, a well-known recalcitrant pharmaceutically active compound, reached around 80%. The excellent removal performances are mainly attributed to the application of countercurrent seepage mode and the cardhouse fabric of the carriers, which provide the high efficiency in the immigration of oxygen and the nutrients inside the bioreactor. Combined with fungus immobilization and the temperature adjustment, the fungus activity and enzyme production were protected as well as the bacteria contamination inside the reactor was suppressed effectively.
    Bioresource Technology 08/2015; 197. DOI:10.1016/j.biortech.2015.08.118 · 4.49 Impact Factor
  • Source
    • "Most pharmaceutical wastewater contains large amounts of antibiotics, antiviral and anti-serum drugs, as well as toxic, highly concentrated and non-biodegradable organic intermediates (i.e. nitroimidazoles, sulfonamides, ketones, phenol, etc.), which are more than that in wastewater treatment plants (WWTPs) and drinking water plants, bringing with potential hazards to human health and the environment (Joss et al. 2006; Aguilar et al. 2014). The concentration thereof may reach several hundred mg L -1 . "
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Pharmaceutical wastewater contains large amounts of high concentration refractory organic intermediates, which have got potential hazards to human health and the environment. It has attracted great attention from the governments, the public and the researchers. In this context, understanding current state of pharmaceutical wastewater treatment research can help guide future research. A bibliometric analysis based on the science citation index expanded from web of science (WoS) was carried out to assess the research pattern and tendencies of pharmaceutical wastewater treatment from 1994 to 2013. Study emphases herein included performance of publication covering annual outputs, mainstream journals, WoS categories, leading countries, institutions, research tendencies and hotspots. The results showed that the annual output of related scientific articles had increased steadily, with approximately 88 % of all articles on pharmaceutical wastewater treatment during 1994-2013 published since 2003. Water research, chemosphere and environmental science and technology were the three most common journals in pharmaceutical wastewater treatment research. The United States takes the dominant position in this field, followed by Spain and Germany. A summary of the most frequently used keywords obtained from words in paper title analysis, author keyword analysis and keywords plus analysis provided the clues to discover current research emphases. The mainstream research related to pharmaceutical wastewater was on wastewater treatment methods and the related contaminants. Adsorption, ozonation and photocatalysis were common treatment techniques and are getting popular. The commonly researched pharmaceutical wastewater contaminants were carbamazepine, diclofenac, ibuprofen, clofibric acid, and triclosan, which have emerged as the frequently studied contaminants in recent years.
    Environmental Earth Sciences 05/2015; 73(9):4995-5005. DOI:10.1007/s12665-015-4183-3 · 1.77 Impact Factor
Show more