Article

Effect-based evaluation of ozone treatment for removal of micropollutants and their transformation products in waste water

Authors:
  • IWW Water Centre Mülheim
  • Landesamt für Natur Umwelt und Verbraucherschutz NRW
  • IWW - Water Centre
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Abstract

The aim of this interdisciplinary research project in North Rhine-Westphalia (NRW), Germany, entitled “Elimination of pharmaceuticals and organic micropollutants from waste water” involved the conception of cost-effective and innovative waste-water cleaning methods. In this project in vitro assays, in vivo assays and chemical analyses were performed on three municipal waste-water treatment plants (WWTP). This publication focuses on the study of the in vitro bioassays. Cytotoxic, estrogenic, genotoxic and mutagenic effects of the original as well as enriched water samples were monitored before and after wastewater treatment steps using MTT and PAN I, ER Calux and A-YES, micronucleus and Comet assays as well as AMES test. In most cases, the measured effects were reduced after ozonation, but in general, the biological response depended upon the water composition of the WWTP, in particular on the formed by-products and concentration of micropollutants. In order to be able to assess the genotoxic and/or mutagenic potential of waste-water samples using bioassays like Ames test, Comet assay or micronucleus test an enrichment of the water sample via solid-phase extraction is recommended. This is in agreement with previous studies such as the “ToxBox”-Project of the Environmental Agency in Germany.

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... Biodegradation during biologically activated GAC theoretically offers the potential to reduce these effects, but in the present study it was not possible to prove this due to the non-detects after ozonation. A significant reduction after ozonation was also determined in a study on three German WWTPs [36]. In addition, they also revealed the effect reduction potential of biological posttreatment with a fluidized bed reactor. ...
... The results of this paper showed that an average decrease by another order of magnitude could be accomplished with advanced treatment. A significant EEQ decrease by ozonation was also observed during other full-scale studies [36,40,41]. The reduction of the EEQ that occurred during ozonation can be attributed to the high reactivity of high-potency estrogens with ozone [42]. ...
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... After ozonation and after filtration with AC, no activity above the trigger value of 0,4 ng E2 eq./l could be detected in any fraction. This reduction of estrogenic effects in wastewater after treatment in general and ozonation in particular is described in various studies (Dopp et al., 2021;Itzel et al., 2020;Kirk Fig. 3. Scatter plot of a fold change over the ozonation step (fc(O 3 )) and a fold change over the two filters (fc(filters)) of all features found in NTS of drinking and wastewater, fc(O 3 ) used as proxy for persistence and fc(filters) used as proxy for mobility to facilitate a classification of detected features. et al., 2002;Wolf et al., 2022) and could also be shown here. ...
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... For this reason, WWTPs in Switzerland which apply ozonation for advanced wastewater treatment are required by law to evaluate the suitability of their wastewater for ozonation by a defined procedure (Wunderlin et al., 2017) and to include a biological post-treatment step before effluent can be discharged to surface waters (Schweizerischer Bundesrat, 1998;Wunderlin et al., 2017). Full-scale ozonation is also implemented internationally as an advanced wastewater treatment technique, e.g. in Germany (Dopp et al., 2021;Wolf et al., 2022) and Canada (Maya et al., 2018;Nasuhoglu et al., 2018). ...
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This article introduces ‘Tox-Box’, a joint research project designed to develop a holistic approach towards a harmonized testing strategy for exposure- and hazard-based risk management of anthropogenic trace substances in drinking water to secure a long-term drinking water supply. The main task of the Tox-Box consortium is to enhance the existing health-related indicator value concept (German: GOW-Konzept - Gesundheitlicher Orientierungswert) through development and prioritization of additional end point-related testing strategies for genotoxicity, neurotoxicity, germ cell damage, and endocrine effects. In this context, substance-specific modes of action will be identified and characterized. Toxicological data collected by the 12 Tox-Box subprojects will be evaluated and weighted to structure a hierarchical testing strategy for an improved risk assessment. A technical guidance document for exposure and hazard-based risk management of anthropogenic trace substances in drinking water will eventually be prepared.
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Since November 2009, Germany's first full-scale ozonation plant for tertiary treatment of secondary effluent is in continuous operation. A kinetic model was developed and combined with the commercial computational fluid dynamics (CFD) software ANSYS(®) CFX(®) to simulate the removal of micropollutants from secondary effluents. Input data like reaction rate constants and initial concentrations of bulk components of the effluent organic matter (EfOM) were derived from experimental batch tests. Additionally, well-known correlations for the mass transfer were implemented into the simulation model. The CFD model was calibrated and validated by full-scale process data and by analytical measurements for micropollutants. The results show a good consistency of simulated values and measured data. Therewith, the validated CFD model described in this study proved to be suited for the application of secondary effluent ozonation. By implementing site-specific ozone exposition and the given reactor geometry the described CFD model can be easily adopted for similar applications.
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Human lymphocytes were either exposed to X-irradiation (25 to 200 rads) or treated with H2O2 (9.1 to 291 μM) at 4 °C and the extent of DNA migration was measured using a single-cell microgel electrophoresis technique under alkaline conditions. Both agents induced a significant increase in DNA migration, beginning at the lowest dose evaluated. Migration patterns were relatively homogeneous among cells exposed to X-rays but heterogeneous among cells treated with H2O2. An analysis of repair kinetics following exposure to 200 rads X-rays was conducted with lymphocytes obtained from three individuals. The bulk of the DNA repair occurred within the first 15 min, while all of the repair was essentially complete by 120 min after exposure. However, some cells demonstrated no repair during this incubation period while other cells demonstrated DNA migration patterns indicative of more damage than that induced by the initial irradiation with X-rays. This technique appears to be sensitive and useful for detecting damage and repair in single cells.
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Wastewater treatment plants do not eliminate micropollutants completely and are thus important point sources for these substances. Ozonation and activated carbon treatment might be beneficial for ecosystem health as these techniques provide effective barriers to organic contaminants. However, a toxicity evaluation is required to investigate toxicity reduction and to assess the potential formation of toxic oxidation byproducts during ozonation. Therefore a comparative toxicity evaluation of different treated wastewater effluents was performed on site at a half scale treatment plant equipped with an ozonation step and an activated carbon treatment step in parallel subsequent to conventional activated sludge treatment. For this purpose four invertebrate and one higher plant toxicity test were selected to assess potential biological effects on whole organisms. The reproduction test with the mudsnail Potamopyrgus antipodarum exhibited a decreased reproductive output after advanced treatment compared to conventional treatment. This indicates an effective estrogenicity removal by ozonation and activated carbon treatment and is confirmed by results of the yeast estrogen screen with a reduction of in vitro estrogenic activity by >75%. The Lumbriculus variegatus test revealed a significantly enhanced toxicity after ozonation compared to conventional treatment whereas this effect was reduced following subsequent sand filtration. When ozonation was applied, a significantly increased genotoxicity was observed, detected with the comet assay using haemolymph of the zebra mussel. Again, this effect was removed by subsequent sand filtration to the level of conventional treatment. Activated carbon treatment even resulted in a significant reduction of genotoxicity. Adverse effects after the ozone reactor are possibly a result of the formation of toxic oxidation byproducts. Biologically active sand filtration obviously is an effective barrier to such compounds.
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Municipal wastewaters may pose a risk to the aquatic environment and ultimately to human kind. Their treatment is a fundament step but the actual WWTPs performances cannot be taken for granted, claiming instead for continuous evaluation campaigns. Our waters are indeed threatened by the continuous input of various persistent micropollutants that are part of human daily routine life; the potential effects of their presence in the receiving waters have to be quantified. The present paper reports data of a monitoring campaign focused on nine pharmaceuticals belonging to different therapeutic groups in three WWTPs in Tuscany (Italy). All the three WWTPs use conventional activated sludge process with pre-denitrification and no tertiary treatment. The analytical determination has been achieved through off-line solid phase extraction and analysis in liquid chromatography coupled with mass spectrometry. The overall ecotoxicological effect of effluents was evaluated through a battery of tests using organisms belonging to different trophic levels. All nine pharmaceuticals were detected in the influent of all WWTPs at least in one sampling campaign. The most concentrated compounds were acetaminophen, diclofenac and amoxicillin followed by atenolol, ketoprofen, clarithromycin, carbamazepine, doxycycline and E2; their average concentrations (considering all measurements from all plants) were, respectively: 3914 ± 2620; 2065 ± 739; 2002 ± 2170; 1223 ± 1042; 961 ± 1003; 356 ± 370; 233 ± 100; 196 ± 189; 4 ± 4 ng/L. The highest concentrations were found in the plant that treats urban and hospital wastewaters. Amoxicillin, atenolol and diclofenac were more concentrated in winter than in summer, while ketoprofen, doxycycline and 17-β-estradiol are higher in summer. These results are probably due to the different consumption of each drug during the year, depending on their therapeutic usage. Measured drugs can be divided into three categories: those ones that are generally well removed inside the WWTP (such as acetaminophen, ketoprofen and atenolol), the partly removed ones (doxycycline, clarithromycin and 17-β-estradiol) and the refractory ones to biodegradation during activated sludge process (carbamazepine, diclofenac and amoxicillin). Regarding ecotoxicological assays, the most sensitive organisms were V. fisheri and R. subcapitata, whereas D. magna almost never reacted to the wastewaters. Seasonal variability was not clearly observed among plants and collecting time. The toxicity score evaluated all the results coming from the bioassays battery, indicating that WWTPs treatments always determined a toxicity reduction, even though a residual toxicity was still measured. This observation, together with chemical data, clearly indicate WWTPs as an important source of pharmaceuticals in the Arno river with an important environmental toxicity; therefore, the reduction of pharmaceutical load originated from point source such us WWTPs would ask in the future the adoption of refinery steps in WWTPs able to increase RE of drugs.
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Continuous exposure to pharmaceuticals and personal care products (PPCPs) is a critical concern given potential toxicity impacts on aquatic environments and human health, although concentrations of PPCPs in the environment are low. While several studies have focused on the fate and toxicity of organic micropollutants in wastewater, the environmental impacts of life cycle assessment induced by these organic micropollutants in advanced wastewater treatment processes are still unknown. To address this need, an environmental evaluation of three representative advanced wastewater treatment processes (ozonation, granular activated carbon ad-sorption and reverse osmosis) involving PPCPs removal was conducted using life cycle assessment and USEtox model in this study. Although a large amount of PPCPs can be eliminated during conventional waste highest characterization factors for freshwater toxicity, while 17α-ethinylestradiol, sertraline, and 17β-estradiol had the highest human toxicity characterization factors. From the perspective of LCA, reverse osmosis appeared to have the greatest environmental burden due to the high energy and material consumption during the treatment process. After involving 126 PPCPs in life cycle inventory, the ecotoxicity impact results were increased significantly in three advanced wastewater treatment processes. The contribution of effluent was improved in toxicity impact category, accounting more than 25% for the three processes. The effluent (including PPCPs) as the key factor was next only to electricity and chemicals in eutrophication, ecotoxicity and human toxicity impacts category particularly. Therefore, PPCPs should not be ignored in life cycle assessment of advanced wastewater treatment processes, although they are not typically monitored in wastewater. These results are valuable for conducting a comprehensive environmental evaluation of advanced wastewater treatment processes considering micro-pollutants removal. The identified PPCPs with high freshwater and human toxicity can be considered as the priority control index of organic micropollutants for wastewater treatment plants.
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The assessment of water quality is crucial for safeguarding drinking water resources and ecosystem integrity. To this end, sample preparation and extraction is critically important, especially when investigating emerging contaminants and the toxicity of water samples. As extraction methods are rarely optimised for bioassays but rather adopted from chemical analysis, this may result in a misrepresentation of the actual toxicity. In this study, surface water, groundwater, hospital and municipal wastewater were used to characterise the impacts of common sample preparation techniques (acidification, filtration and solid phase extraction (SPE)) on the outcomes of eleven in vitro bioassays. The latter covered endocrine activity (reporter gene assays for estrogen, androgen, aryl-hydrocarbon, retinoic acid, retinoid X, vitamin D, thyroid receptor), mutagenicity (Ames fluctuation test), genotoxicity (umu test) and cytotoxicity. Water samples extracted using different SPE sorbents (Oasis HLB, Supelco ENVI-Carb+, Telos C18/ENV) at acidic and neutral pH were compared for their performance in recovering biological effects. Acidification, commonly used for stabilisation, significantly altered the endocrine activity and toxicity of most (waste)water samples. Sample filtration did not affect the majority of endpoints but in certain cases affected the (anti-)estrogenic and dioxin-like activities. SPE extracts (10.4 × final concentration), including WWTP effluents, induced significant endocrine effects that were not detected in aqueous samples (0.63 × final concentration), such as estrogenic, (anti-)androgenic and dioxin-like activities. When ranking the SPE methods using multivariate Pareto optimisation an extraction with Telos C18/ENV at pH 7 was most effective in recovering toxicity. At the same time, these extracts were highly cytotoxic masking the endpoint under investigation. Compared to that, extraction at pH 2.5 enriched less cytotoxicity. In summary, our study demonstrates that sample preparation and extraction critically affect the outcome of bioassays when assessing the toxicity of water samples. Depending on the water matrix and the bioassay, these methods need to be optimised to accurately assess water quality.
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The European Decision EU 2015/495 included three steroidal estrogens, estrone, 17β-estradiol and 17α-48 ethinyl estradiol, in the “watch-list” of the Water Framework Directive (WFD). As consequence, these substances have to be chemically monitored at the level of their environmental quality standards, which can be challenging. This project aimed to identify reliable effect-based methods (EBMs) for screening of endocrine disrupting compounds, to harmonise monitoring and data interpretation methods, and to contribute to the current WFD review process. Water and wastewater samples were collected across Europe and analysed using chemical analyses and EBMs. The results showed that 17β-estradiol equivalents were comparable among methods, while results can vary between methods based on the relative potencies for individual substances. Further, derived 17β-estradiol equivalents were highly correlated with LC-MS/MS analyses. This study shows that the inclusion of effect-based screening methods into monitoring programmes for estrogens in surface waterbodies would be a valuable complement to chemical analysis.
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Effect-based methods including cell-based bioassays, reporter gene assays and whole-organism assays have been applied for decades in water quality monitoring and testing of enriched solid-phase extracts. There is no common EU-wide agreement on what level of bioassay response in water extracts is acceptable. At present, bioassay results are only benchmarked against each other but not against a consented measure of chemical water quality. The EU environmental quality standards (EQS) differentiate between acceptable and unacceptable surface water concentrations for individual chemicals but cannot capture the thousands of chemicals in water and their biological action as mixtures. We developed a method that reads across from existing EQS and includes additional mixture considerations with the goal that the derived effect-based trigger values (EBT) indicate acceptable risk for complex mixtures as they occur in surface water. Advantages and limitations of various approaches to read across from EQS are discussed and distilled to an algorithm that translates EQS into their corresponding bioanalytical equivalent concentrations (BEQ). The proposed EBT derivation method was applied to 48 in vitro bioassays with 32 of them having sufficient information to yield preliminary EBTs. To assess the practicability and robustness of the proposed approach, we compared the tentative EBTs with observed environmental effects. The proposed method only gives guidance on how to derive EBTs but does not propose final EBTs for implementation. The EBTs for some bioassays such as those for estrogenicity are already mature and could be implemented into regulation in the near future, while for others it will still take a few iterations until we can be confident of the power of the proposed EBTs to differentiate good from poor water quality with respect to chemical contamination.
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In vitro bioassays are increasingly used for water quality monitoring. Surface water samples often need to be enriched to observe an effect and solid-phase extraction (SPE) is commonly applied for this purpose. The applied methods are typically optimised for the recovery of target chemicals and not for effect recovery for bioassays. A review of the few studies that have evaluated SPE recovery for bioassays showed a lack of experimentally determined recoveries. Therefore, we systematically measured effect recovery of a mixture of 579 organic chemicals covering a wide range of physicochemical properties that were spiked into a pristine water sample and extracted using large volume solid-phase extraction (LVSPE). Assays indicative of activation of xenobiotic metabolism, hormone receptor-mediated effects and adaptive stress responses were applied, with non-specific effects determined through cytotoxicity measurements. Overall, effect recovery was found to be similar to chemical recovery for the majority of bioassays and LVSPE blanks had no effect. Multi-layer SPE exhibited greater recovery of spiked chemicals compared to LVSPE, but the blanks triggered cytotoxicity at high enrichment. Chemical recovery data together with single chemical effect data was used to retrospectively estimate with reverse recovery modelling that there was typically less than 30% effect loss expected due to reduced SPE recovery in published surface water monitoring studies. The combination of targeted experiments and mixture modelling clearly shows the utility of SPE as a sample preparation method for surface water samples, but also emphasizes the need for adequate controls when extraction methods are adapted from chemical analysis workflows.
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Unrepaired DNA damage can lead to genetic instability, which in turn may enhance cancer development. Therefore, identifying potential DNA damaging agents is important for protecting public health. The in vivo alkaline comet assay, which detects DNA damage as strand breaks, is especially relevant for assessing the genotoxic hazards of xenobiotics, as its responses reflect the in vivo absorption, tissue distribution, metabolism and excretion (ADME) of chemicals, as well as DNA repair process. Compared to other in vivo DNA damage assays, the assay is rapid, sensitive, visual and inexpensive, and, by converting oxidative DNA damage into strand breaks using specific repair enzymes, the assay can measure oxidative DNA damage in an efficient and relatively artifact-free manner. Measurement of DNA damage with the comet assay can be performed using both acute and subchronic toxicology study designs, and by integrating the comet assay with other toxicological assessments, the assay addresses animal welfare requirements by making maximum use of animal resources. Another major advantage of the assays is that they only require a small amount of cells, and the cells do not have to be derived from proliferating cell populations. The assays also can be performed with a variety of human samples obtained from clinically or occupationally exposed individuals.
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Conventional wastewater treatment plants are ineffective in removing a broad range of micropollutants, resulting in the release of these compounds into the aquatic environment, including natural drinking water resources. Ozonation is a suitable treatment process for micropollutant removal, although, currently, little is known about the formation, behavior, and removal of transformation products (TP) formed during ozonation. We investigated the elimination of 30 selected micropollutants (pharmaceuticals, X-ray contrast media, industrial chemicals, and TP) by biological treatment coupled with ozonation and, subsequently, in parallel with two biological filters (BF) or granular activated carbon (GAC) filters. The selected micropollutants were removed to very different extents during the conventional biological wastewater treatment process. Ozonation (specific ozone consumption: 0.87 ± 0.29 gO3 gDOC−1, hydraulic retention time: 17 ± 3 min) eliminated a large number of the investigated micropollutants. Although 11 micropollutants could still be detected after ozonation, most of these were eliminated in subsequent GAC filtration at bed volumes (BV) of approximately 25,000 m3 m−3. In contrast, no additional removal of micropollutants was achieved in the BF. Ozonation of the analgesic tramadol led to the formation of tramadol-N-oxide that is effectively eliminated by GAC filters, but not by BF. For the antiviral drug acyclovir, the formation of carboxy-acyclovir was observed during activated sludge treatment, with an average concentration of 3.4 ± 1.4 μg L−1 detected in effluent samples. Subsequent ozonation resulted in the complete elimination of carboxy-acyclovir and led to the formation of N-(4-carbamoyl-2-imino-5-oxo imidazolidin)-formamido-N-methoxyacetetic acid (COFA; average concentration: 2.6 ± 1.0 μg L−1). Neither the BF nor the GAC filters were able to remove COFA. These results highlight the importance of considering TP in the evaluation of advanced wastewater treatment processes. The results further indicate that post-treatment of ozonated wastewater with GAC filtration seems to be more suitable than BF, due to the sorption of some of the formed TP to the activated carbon.
Article
Synthetic progesterones and estrogens are broadly used bioactive pharmaceutical agents and have been detected in aquatic environments. In the present study, we investigated the combined reproductive effects of megestrol acetate (MTA) and 17α-ethinylestradiol (EE2) on zebrafish. Adult zebrafish were exposed to MTA (33, 100 or 333 ng/L), EE2 (10 ng/L) or a mixture of both (MTA + EE2: 33 + 10, 100 + 10 or 333 + 10 ng/L) for 21 days. Results demonstrated that egg production was significantly reduced by exposure to 10 ng/L EE2, but not MTA. However, a combined exposure to MTA and EE2 caused further reduction of fish fecundity compared to EE2 exposure alone, suggesting an additive effect on egg production when EE2 is supplemented with MTA. Plasma concentrations of 17β-estradiol and testosterone in the females and 11-ketotestosterone in the males were significantly decreased in the groups exposed to EE2 or MTA alone compared with the solvent control, and the plasma concentrations of the three hormones were further reduced in the co-exposure groups relative to the MTA exposure group, but not the EE2 exposure group. These data indicate that the inhibitory effects on plasma concentrations in the co-exposures were predominantly caused by EE2. Furthermore, exposure to MTA and EE2 (alone or in combination) led to histological alterations in the ovaries (decreased vitellogenic/mature oocytes), but not in the testes. This study has important implications for environmental risk assessment of synthetic hormones that are concurrently present in aquatic systems.
Article
Fish are more sensitive to introduced disturbances from synthetic endocrine disrupting compounds during early life phases compared with mature stages. 17α-Ethinylestradiol (EE2), which is the active compound in human oral contraceptives and hormone replacement therapies, is today ever present in the effluents from sewage treatment plants. EE2 targets and interacts with the endogenous biological systems of exposed vertebrates resulting in to large extents unknown short- and long-term effects. We investigated how EE2 exposure affects expression profiles of a large number of target genes during early life of roach (Rutilus rutilus). We exposed fertilized roach eggs collected from a lake in Southern Sweden to EE2 for 12weeks together with 1+-year-old roach in aquaria. We measured the gene expression of the estrogen receptor (esr)1/2a/2b, androgen receptor (ar), vitellogenin, cytochrome P450 (cyp)19a1a/1b in fertilized eggs; newly hatched larvae; 12-week-old fry; and juvenile wild roach (1+-year-old). Results shows that an EE2 concentration as low as 0.5ng/L significantly affects gene expression during early development. Gene expression responses vary both among life stages and molecular receptors. We also show that the gene profile of the estrogen feedback cycle to a large extent depends on the relationship between the three esr genes and the two cyp19a1 genes, which are all up-regulated with age. Results indicate that a disruption of the natural activity of the dominant esr gene could lead to detrimental biological effects if EE2 exposure occurs during development, even if this exposure occurred for only a short period.
Article
The fate of anthropogenic trace organic contaminants in surface waters can be complex due to the occurrence of multiple parallel and consecutive transformation processes. In this study, the removal of five antiviral drugs (abacavir, acyclovir, emtricitabine, lamivudine and zidovudine) via both bio- and phototransformation processes, was investigated in laboratory microcosm experiments simulating an open-water unit process wetland receiving municipal wastewater effluent. Phototransformation was the main removal mechanism for abacavir, zidovudine, and emtricitabine, with half-lives (t1/2,photo) in wetland water of 1.6, 7.6, and 25 h, respectively. In contrast, removal of acyclovir and lamivudine was mainly attributable to slower microbial processes (t1/2,bio = 74 and 120 h, respectively). Identification of transformation products revealed that bio- and phototransformation reactions took place at different moieties. For abacavir and zidovudine, rapid transformation was attributable to high reactivity of the cyclopropylamine and azido moieties, respectively. Despite substantial differences in kinetics of different antiviral drugs, biotransformation reactions mainly involved oxidation of hydroxyl groups to the corresponding carboxylic acids. Phototransformation rates of parent antiviral drugs and their biotransformation products were similar, indicating that prior exposure to microorganisms (e.g., in a wastewater treatment plant or a vegetated wetland) would not affect the rate of transformation of the part of the molecule susceptible to phototransformation. However, phototransformation strongly affected the rates of biotransformation of the hydroxyl groups, which in some cases resulted in greater persistence of phototransformation products.
Article
The present study investigates the impact of releases from waste water treatment plants and storm water overflow basins on gammarids and other macrozoobenthos. The study relates to a recent upgrading of a waste water treatment plant (Langwiese) at the Schussen river, an important tributary to Lake Constance. Samples were taken at different sites at the Schussen river upstream and downstream of a storm water overflow basin and the waste water treatment plant Langwiese and, in parallel, at the Argen river, a less polluted reference stream. We assessed the influence of water quality on the distribution of macrozoobenthos and on the health of gammarid populations by a variety of ecotoxicological methods including biomarkers prior to the expansion of the waste water treatment plant. Through histopathological studies, the impact of parasites on host tissue health was evaluated. Analyses of heat shock protein (hsp70) levels allowed us to draw conclusions about the proteotoxicity-related stress status of the organisms. Furthermore, gammarid populations from all sites were investigated in respect to sex ratio, parasitism rate, and fecundity. Macrozoobenthos community integrity was determined by means of the saprobic index and the abundance as well as by the number of taxa. In gammarids, the sex ratio was significantly shifted towards females, fecundity was significantly decreased, and the hsp70 level was significantly increased downstream of the waste water treatment plant Langwiese, compared to the upstream sampling site. Similarly, these effects could be detected downstream of three small storm water overflow basins. In the macrozoobenthos communities, the abundance of taxa, the number of taxa, the number of ephemeroptera, plecoptera, and trichoptera taxa (EPT-taxa), and the number of sensitive taxa decreased downstream of the storm water overflow basin Mariatal as well as downstream of the waste water treatment plant Langwiese. Our study showed, that waste water treatment plants and storm water overflow basins affected macroinvertebrate communities and the health of gammarids.
Article
The amount of organic micropollutants detected in surface waters increases steadily. Common waste water treatment plants are not built to remove these substances. Thus there is a need for new technologies. A promising technology is the use of advanced oxidation processes through which organic micropollutants can be removed from waste water. However, the formation of oxidation by-products is likely and needs to be investigated since the by-products not only differ from their parent compounds in regard to their chemical and physical properties but they can also differ in toxicity. Therefore this study was designed to combine chemical and toxicological analyses of the advanced oxidation (O3 [5mg/L] or UV/H2O2 [Hg-LP lamp; 15W; 1g/L H2O2]) of waste water treatment plant effluents and pure water. Effluent samples from conventional activated sludge waste water treatment (mechanical treatment, activated sludge basin, and primary as well as secondary treatment steps) and high-purity deionized water (pure water) were spiked with Bisphenol A, Ciprofloxacin, Metoprolol or Sulfamethoxazole and treated with O3 or UV/H2O2. For the toxicological analyses mammalian cells (CHO-9, T47D) were exposed to the water samples for 24h and were tested for cytotoxicity (MTT Test), genotoxicity (Alkaline Comet Assay) and estrogenicity (ER Calux(®)). The results indicate that the oxidative treatment (O3 or UV/H2O2) of Bisphenol A, Metoprolol, Sulfamethoxazole or Ciprofloxacin in waste water did not result in toxic oxidation by-products, whereas the UV/H2O2 treatment of Bisphenol A and Ciprofloxacin in pure water resulted in by-products with cytotoxic but no estrogenic effects after 60min.
Article
This study investigated the oxidation of the oral contraceptive 17alpha-ethinylestradiol (EE2) during ozonation. First, the effect of ozone (O-3) on the estrogenic activity of aqueous solutions of EE2 was studied using a yeast estrogen screen (YES). It could be shown that O-3 doses typically applied for the disinfection of drinking waters were sufficient to reduce estrogenicity by a factor of more than 200. However, it proved impossible to completely remove estrogenic activity due to the slow reappearance of 0.1 - 0.2% of the initial EE2 concentration after ozonation. Second, oxidation products formed during ozonation of EE2 were identified with LC-MS/MS and GC/MS and the help of the model compounds 5,6,7,8-tetrahydro-2-naphthol (THN) and 1-ethinyl-1-cyclohexanol (ECH),which represent the reactive phenolic moiety and the ethinyl group of EE2. Additionally, oxidation products of the natural steroid hormones 17beta-estradiol (E2) and estrone (E1) were identified. The chemical structures of the oxidation products were significantly altered as compared to the parent compounds, explaining the diminished estrogenic activity after ozonation. Overall, the results demonstrate that ozonation is a promising tool for the control of EE2, E2, and El in drinking water and wastewater.
Article
Many organic micropollutants present in wastewater, such as pharmaceuticals and pesticides, are poorly removed in conventional wastewater treatment plants (WWTPs). To reduce the release of these substances into the aquatic environment, advanced wastewater treatments are necessary. In this context, two large-scale pilot advanced treatments were tested in parallel over more than one year at the municipal WWTP of Lausanne, Switzerland. The treatments were: i) oxidation by ozone followed by sand filtration (SF) and ii) powdered activated carbon (PAC) adsorption followed by either ultrafiltration (UF) or sand filtration. More than 70 potentially problematic substances (pharmaceuticals, pesticides, endocrine disruptors, drug metabolites and other common chemicals) were regularly measured at different stages of treatment. Additionally, several ecotoxicological tests such as the Yeast Estrogen Screen, a combined algae bioassay and a fish early life stage test were performed to evaluate effluent toxicity. Both treatments significantly improved the effluent quality. Micropollutants were removed on average over 80% compared with raw wastewater, with an average ozone dose of 5.7mgO3l(-1) or a PAC dose between 10 and 20mgl(-1). Depending on the chemical properties of the substances (presence of electron-rich moieties, charge and hydrophobicity), either ozone or PAC performed better. Both advanced treatments led to a clear reduction in toxicity of the effluents, with PAC-UF performing slightly better overall. As both treatments had, on average, relatively similar efficiency, further criteria relevant to their implementation were considered, including local constraints (e.g., safety, sludge disposal, disinfection), operational feasibility and cost. For sensitive receiving waters (drinking water resources or recreational waters), the PAC-UF treatment, despite its current higher cost, was considered to be the most suitable option, enabling good removal of most micropollutants and macropollutants without forming problematic by-products, the strongest decrease in toxicity and a total disinfection of the effluent.
Article
Sludge bulking is still a problem in the operation of state-of-the-art wastewater treatment plants (WWTPs). The ozonation of returned activated sludge (RAS) is an innovative option as a non-specific measure for the control of filament growth. The applicability of sludge ozonation for bulking control of a large wastewater treatment plant was investigated. At a full-scale WWTP one lane was equipped with a sludge ozonation plant for RAS. The implemented sludge ozonation of RAS was tested against the two identical references lanes of the same WWTP. The positive effect on settleability could be clearly proven. Low-dose sludge ozonation could be a technical alternative in comparison with the established chemical measures for bulking control.
Article
The study of DNA damage at the chromosome level is an essential part of genetic toxicology because chromosomal mutation is an important event in carcinogenesis. Micronucleus assays have emerged as one of the preferred methods for assessing chromosome damage because they enable both chromosome loss and chromosome breakage to be measured reliably. Because micronuclei can only be expressed in cells that complete nuclear, division a special method was developed that identifies such cells by their binucleate appearance when blocked from performing cytokinesis by cytochalasin-B, a microfilament-assembly inhibitor. The cytokinesis-block micronucleus (CBMN) assay allows better precision because the data obtained are not confounded by altered cell division kinetics caused by cytotoxicity of agents tested or suboptimal cell culture conditions. The method is now applied to various cell types for population monitoring of genetic damage, screening of chemicals for genotoxic potential and for specific purposes such as the prediction of the radiosensitivity of tumors and the interindividual variation in radiosensitivity. In its current basic form the CBMN assay can provide, using simple morphological criteria, the following measures of genotoxicity and cytotoxicity: chromosome breakage, chromosome loss, chromosome rearrangement (nucleoplasmic bridges), gene amplification (nuclear buds), cell division inhibition, necrosis and apoptosis. The cytosine arabinoside modification of the CBMN assay allows for measurement of excision repairable lesions. The use of molecular probes enables chromosome loss to be distinguished from chromosome breakage and importantly nondisjunction in nonmicronucleated binucleated cells can be efficiently measured. The CBMN technique therefore provides multiple and complementary measures of genotoxicity and cytotoxicity which can be achieved with relative ease within one system. The basic principles and methods (including detailed scoring criteria for all the genotoxicity and cytotoxicity end points) of the CBMN assay are described and areas for future development identified.
Article
Ozonation is an emerging technology for the removal of micropollutants from treated wastewater. Aim of the present study was to investigate the impact of ozone treatment on genotoxic and acute toxic effects of tertiary treated municipal wastewater. It is known that DNA-damaging chemicals cause adverse effects in the environment and that exposure to humans leads to cancer and other diseases. Toxicity was tested in organisms from three trophic levels namely in bacteria (Salmonella/microsome assays) which enable the detection of gene mutations, in a plant bioassay (micronucleus assay with root tip cells of Allium cepa) which reflects clastogenic and aneugenic effects and in single cell gel electrophoresis (SCGE) tests with mammalian cells which detect DNA migration caused by single-, double strand breaks and alkali labile sites. In the bacterial tests negative results were obtained with untreated samples but after concentration with C(18) cartridges a positive result was found in strains TA1537 and TA98 which are sensitive to frameshift mutagens while no mutations were induced in other tester strains (TA100, TA102 and YG1024). Ozone treatment led to a decrease of the mutagenic activity of the samples. In the SCGE experiments, DNA migration was detected with the unconcentrated effluent of the treatment plant and ozonation led to a substantial decrease of this effect. In the plant bioassays, negative results were obtained with the effluent and ozone treatment did not cause an alteration of the micronucleus frequencies. Also acute toxic effects were monitored in the different indicator organisms under all experimental conditions. The bacteriocidal/bacteriostatic effects which were seen with the concentrated samples were reduced by ozonation. In the experiments with the eukaryotic (plant and animal) cells no acute toxicity was seen with the effluents and ozonation had no impact on their viability. In conclusion findings of this study indicate that ozonation of tertiary effluents of a municipal treatment plant reduces the adverse effects caused by release of mutagens in aquatic ecosystems and does not decrease the viability of bacteria and eukaryotic cells. However, future research is required to find out if, and to which extent these findings can be generalized and which mechanisms account for the detoxification of the wastewater.
Article
Ecological risk assessors face increasing demands to assess more chemicals, with greater speed and accuracy, and to do so using fewer resources and experimental animals. New approaches in biological and computational sciences may be able to generate mechanistic information that could help in meeting these challenges. However, to use mechanistic data to support chemical assessments, there is a need for effective translation of this information into endpoints meaningful to ecological risk-effects on survival, development, and reproduction in individual organisms and, by extension, impacts on populations. Here we discuss a framework designed for this purpose, the adverse outcome pathway (AOP). An AOP is a conceptual construct that portrays existing knowledge concerning the linkage between a direct molecular initiating event and an adverse outcome at a biological level of organization relevant to risk assessment. The practical utility of AOPs for ecological risk assessment of chemicals is illustrated using five case examples. The examples demonstrate how the AOP concept can focus toxicity testing in terms of species and endpoint selection, enhance across-chemical extrapolation, and support prediction of mixture effects. The examples also show how AOPs facilitate use of molecular or biochemical endpoints (sometimes referred to as biomarkers) for forecasting chemical impacts on individuals and populations. In the concluding sections of the paper, we discuss how AOPs can help to guide research that supports chemical risk assessments and advocate for the incorporation of this approach into a broader systems biology framework.
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The removal efficiency for 220 micropollutants was studied at the scale of a municipal wastewater treatment plant (WWTP) upgraded with post-ozonation followed by sand filtration. During post-ozonation, compounds with activated aromatic moieties, amine functions, or double bonds such as sulfamethoxazole, diclofenac, or carbamazepine with second-order rate constants for the reaction with ozone >10(4) M(-1) s(-1) at pH 7 (fast-reacting) were eliminated to concentrations below the detection limit for an ozone dose of 0.47 g O3 g(-1) dissolved organic carbon (DOC). Compounds more resistant to oxidation by ozone such as atenolol and benzotriazole were increasingly eliminated with increasing ozone doses, resulting in >85% removal for a medium ozone dose (approximately 0.6 g O3 g(-1) DOC). Only a few micropollutants such as some X-ray contrast media and triazine herbicides with second-order rate constants <10(2) M(-1) s(-1) (slowly reacting) persisted to a large extent. With a medium ozone dose, only 11 micropollutants of 55 detected in the secondary effluent were found at >100 ng L(-1). The combination of reaction kinetics and reactor hydraulics, based on laboratory-and full-scale data, enabled a quantification of the results by model calculations. This conceptual approach allows a direct upscaling from laboratory- to full-scale systems and can be applied to other similar systems. The carcinogenic by-products N-nitrosodimethylamine (NDMA) (< or =14 ng L(-1)) and bromate (<10 microg L(-1)) were produced during ozonation, however their concentrations were below or in the range of the drinking water standards. Furthermore, it could be demonstrated that biological sand filtration is an efficient additional barrier for the elimination of biodegradable compounds formed during ozonation such as NDMA. The energy requirement for the additional post-ozonation step is about 0.035 kWh m(-3), which corresponds to 12% of a typical medium-sized nutrient removal plant (5 g DOC m(-3)).