ABSTRACT: The urban-water cycle modifies natural stream hydrology, and domestic and commercial activities increase the burden of endocrine-disrupting chemicals, such as steroidal hormones and 4-nonylphenol, that can disrupt endocrine system function in aquatic organisms. This paper presents a series of integrated chemical and biological investigations into the occurrence, fate, and effects of endocrine-disrupting chemicals in the City of Boulder Colorado's WWTF and Boulder Creek, the receiving stream. Results are presented showing the effects of a full-scale upgrade of the WWTF (that treats 0.6 m(3) s(-1) of sewage) from a trickling filter/solids contact process to an activated sludge process on the removal of endocrine-disrupting compounds and other contaminants (including nutrients, boron, bismuth, gadolinium, and ethylenediaminetetraacetic acid) through each major treatment unit. Corresponding impacts of pre- and postupgrade effluent chemistry on fish reproductive end points were evaluated using on-site, continuous-flow experiments, in which male fathead minnows (Pimephales promelas) were exposed for 28 days to upstream Boulder Creek water and WWTF effluent under controlled conditions. The upgrade of the WWTF resulted in improved removal efficiency for many endocrine-disrupting chemicals, particularly 17β-estradiol and estrone, and fish exposed to the postupgrade effluent indicated reduction in endocrine disruption relative to preupgrade conditions.
Environmental Science & Technology 02/2012; 46(4):2121-31. · 4.80 Impact Factor