Transport of Chemical and Microbial Compounds From Known Wastewater Discharges: Potential for Use as Indicators of Human Fecal Contamination

U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Office of Research and Development, National Exposure Research Laboratory, 26 West Martin Luther King Drive, MS 564, Cincinnati, Ohio 45268, USA.
Environmental Science and Technology (Impact Factor: 5.33). 08/2005; 39(14):5157-69. DOI: 10.1021/es048120k
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT The quality of drinking and recreational water is currently (2005) determined using indicator bacteria. However, the culture tests used to analyze forthese bacteria require a long time to complete and do not discriminate between human and animal fecal material sources. One complementary approach is to use chemicals found in human wastewater, which would have the advantages of (1) potentially shorter analysis times than the bacterial culture tests and (2) being selected for human-source specificity. At 10 locations, water samples were collected upstream and at two successive points downstream from a wastewaster treatment plant (WWTP); a treated effluent sample was also collected at each WWTP. This sampling plan was used to determine the persistence of a chemically diverse suite of emerging contaminants in streams. Samples were also collected at two reference locations assumed to have minimal human impacts. Of the 110 chemical analytes investigated in this project, 78 were detected at least once. The number of compounds in a given sample ranged from 3 at a reference location to 50 in a WWTP effluent sample. The total analyte load at each location varied from 0.018 microg/L at the reference location to 97.7 microg/L in a separate WWTP effluent sample. Although most of the compound concentrations were in the range of 0.01-1.0 microg/L, in some samples, individual concentrations were in the range of 5-38 microg/L. The concentrations of the majority of the chemicals present in the samples generally followed the expected trend: they were either nonexistent or at trace levels in the upstream samples, had their maximum concentrations in the WWTP effluent samples, and then declined in the two downstream samples. This research suggests that selected chemicals are useful as tracers of human wastewater discharge.

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    • "The latter determine transport behavior (water dissolved, particle-associated) and elimination mechanisms (sorption, volatilization, chemical or biological degradation) of the substances in the rivers. For example, the anticonvulsant carbamazepine behaves relatively conservative (transport in the water phase, low degradability) and was proposed as a persistent marker tracing the pathways of treated sewage (Clara et al., 2004; Glassmeyer et al., 2005; Nakada et al., 2008). The synthetic musks HHCB (galaxolide, 1,3,4,6,7,8-hexahydro-4,6,6,7,8,8- hexamethylcyclopenta-g-2-benzopyran) and AHTN (Tonalide, 7- Acetyl-1,1,3,4,4,6-hexamethyl-1,2,3,4-tetrahydronaphthalene) were characterized by a pronounced seasonality in surface water due to their temperature-dependent attenuation in WWTPs (Musolff et al., 2009). "
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    ABSTRACT: Increasing numbers of organic micropollutants are emitted into rivers via municipal wastewaters. Due to their persistence many pollutants pass wastewater treatment plants without substantial removal. Transport and fate of pollutants in receiving waters and export to downstream ecosystems is not well understood. In particular, a better knowledge of processes governing their environmental behavior is needed. Although a lot of data are available concerning the ubiquitous presence of micropollutants in rivers, accurate data on transport and removal rates are lacking. In this paper, a mass balance approach is presented, which is based on the Lagrangian sampling scheme, but extended to account for precise transport velocities and mixing along river stretches. The calculated mass balances allow accurate quantification of pollutants' reactivity along river segments. This is demonstrated for representative members of important groups of micropollutants, e.g. pharmaceuticals, musk fragrances, flame retardants, and pesticides. A model-aided analysis of the measured data series gives insight into the temporal dynamics of removal processes. The occurrence of different removal mechanisms such as photooxidation, microbial degradation, and volatilization is discussed. The results demonstrate, that removal processes are highly variable in time and space and this has to be considered for future studies. The high precision sampling scheme presented could be a powerful tool for quantifying removal processes under different boundary conditions and in river segments with contrasting properties. Copyright © 2015. Published by Elsevier B.V.
    Science of The Total Environment 08/2015; DOI:10.1016/j.scitotenv.2015.07.135 · 4.10 Impact Factor
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    • "Generally, values near or greater than 0.2 were found in populous locations such as Hanoi (site HN1 0.96, HN2 0.86, HN3 0.88, HN4 0.37, HN5 0.82), Red10 (0.32, downstream of Hanoi), urban areas of Hue (HU4 0.19) and Danang (DN3 0.46), and HCMC (HCM6 0.30, HCM7 0.67, HCM9 0.79, HCM10 0.3, HCM11 0.20) (Table S1). Glassmeyer et al. (2005) suggested that a ratio exceeding 0.3 indicates fecal contamination. This means that wastewater containing feces from households was directly discharged into rivers or canals in urban areas, and domestic wastewater treatment plants were not operating effectively. "
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    ABSTRACT: The rapid increase in the number and volume of chemical substances being used in modern society has been accompanied by a large number of potentially hazardous chemicals being found in environmental samples. In Vietnam, the monitoring of chemical substances is mainly limited to a small number of known pollutants in spite of rapid economic growth and urbanization, and there is an urgent need to examine a large number of chemicals to prevent impacts from expanding environmental pollution. However, it is difficult to analyze a large number of chemicals using existing methods, because they are time consuming and expensive. In the present study, we determined 1153 substances to grasp a pollution picture of microcontaminants in the aquatic environment. To achieve this objective, we have used two comprehensive analytical methods: (1) solid-phase extraction (SPE) and LC-TOF-MS analysis, and (2) SPE and GC-MS analysis. We collected 42 samples from northern (the Red River and Hanoi), central (Hue and Danang), and southern (Ho Chi Minh City and Saigon-Dongnai River) Vietnam. One hundred and sixty-five compounds were detected at least once. The compounds detected most frequently (>40 % samples) at μg/L concentrations were sterols (cholesterol, beta-sitosterol, stigmasterol, coprostanol), phthalates (bis(2-ethylhexyl) phthalate and di-n-butyl phthalate), and pharmaceutical and personal care products (caffeine, metformin). These contaminants were detected at almost the same detection frequency as in developed countries. The results reveal that surface waters in Vietnam, particularly in the center of large cities, are polluted by a large number of organic micropollutants, with households and business activities as the major sources. In addition, risk quotients (MEC/PNEC values) for nonylphenol, sulfamethoxazole, ampicillin, acetaminophen, erythromycin and clarithromycin were higher than 1, which indicates a possibility of adverse effects on aquatic ecosystems.
    Environmental Science and Pollution Research 07/2015; DOI:10.1007/s11356-015-5060-z · 2.83 Impact Factor
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    • "However, PhACs are manufactured with the intent of providing beneficial effects for human/animal health, which are not necessarily the same for organisms subjected to episodic or continual lifecycle exposure . Fishes and other organisms downstream from STP effluent outfalls are chronically exposed to the complex mixtures of synthetic and biologically active pharmaceuticals, and a number of important physiological processes, such as development, reproduction and nervous system function, may be altered in aquatic organisms (Gelsleichter and Szabo, 2013; Glassmeyer et al., 2005; Pal et al., 2010). A range of experimental investigations has been performed during recent years with the aim of describing the hazards and risks of pharmaceuticals for the aquatic environment (Santos et al., 2007; Wang et al., 2010; Yan et al., 2013). "
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    ABSTRACT: The occurrence, bioaccumulation and risk assessment of lipophilic pharmaceutically active compounds (LPhACs), such as antibiotics (roxithromycin, erythromycin and ketoconazole), anti-inflammatories (ibuprofen and diclofenac), β-blockers (propranolol), antiepileptics (carbamazepine) and steroid hormones (17α-ethinylestradiol), were investigated in the downstream rivers of sewage treatment plants in Nanjing, China. The results indicate that these LPhACs were widely detected in the surface water and fish samples, with the mean concentrations of the total LPhACs (ΣLPhACs) being in the range of 15.4 and 384.5 ng/L and 3.0 and 128.4 ng/g (wet weight), respectively. The bioaccumulation of the ΣLPhACs in wild fish tissues was generally in the order the liver > brain > gill > muscle. Among the target LPhACs, however, an interspecies difference in tissue distribution was evident for erythromycin. The bioaccumulation factors of LPhACs in the liver and brain, the two major targeted storage sites for toxicants, exhibited an obvious negative correlation with the aquatic concentrations (P < 0.05). Finally, risk quotients posed by pharmaceuticals were assessed by comprehensive and comparative methods for different aquatic organisms (algae, daphnids and fish). The overall relative order of susceptibility was estimated to be algae > daphnids > fish. However, the results indicate that diclofenac, ibuprofen and 17α-ethinylestradiol each posed chronic risks for high trophic level organisms (fish). In all of the risk assessments, erythromycin was found to be the most harmful for the most sensitive algae group. In this work, however, the total BAF and toxicological interactions of pharmaceuticals were not performed due to the lack of metabolite information and combined toxicity data, which represents a major hindrance to the effective risk assessment of pharmaceuticals.
    Science of The Total Environment 04/2015; 511. DOI:10.1016/j.scitotenv.2014.12.033 · 4.10 Impact Factor
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