Removal of selected non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), gemfibrozil, carbamazepine, beta-blockers, trimethoprim and triclosan in conventional wastewater treatment plants in five EU countries and their discharge to the aquatic environment.

Gryaab, Karl IX:s väg, S-418 34 Göteborg, Sweden.
Water Science & Technology (Impact Factor: 1.21). 02/2004; 50(5):253-60.
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT The removal of commonly used pharmaceuticals (ibuprofen, naproxen, diclofenac, gemfibrozil, carbamazepine, atenolol, metoprolol and trimethoprim) and a biocide (triclosan) in operating wastewater treatment plants in five EU countries has been studied. Under normal operating conditions the acidic drugs and triclosan were partially removed with removal rates varying from ca. 20 to >95%. The highest removal rate was found for ibuprofen and triclosan (>90%) followed by naproxen (80%), gemfibrozil (55%) and diclofenac (39%). Ibuprofen undergoes an oxidative transformation to corresponding hydroxy- and carboxy-metabolites, which contributes to its high removal rate. Disturbances in the activated sludge process resulted in lower removal rates for all acidic drugs, mostly for diclofenac (<10% removed) but also for ibuprofen (<60% removed). The treatment of wastewaters by activated sludge usually did not result in any practical removal (<10%) of neutral carbamazepine or basic atenolol, metoprolol and trimethoprim. The removal rates of the investigated drugs and triclosan are discussed in terms of mechanisms responsible for their removal. Discharges of carbamazepine, diclofenac, gemfibrozil, naproxen, triclosan and trimethoprim from WWTPs to the aquatic environment, expressed as the average concentration in the effluent and the daily discharged quantity per person served by WWTPs were assessed.

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