Pilot Survey Monitoring Pharmaceuticals and Related Compounds in a Sewage Treatment Plant Located on the Mediterranean Coast
A one-year monitoring study was performed to evaluate the occurrence, persistence and fate of a group of 14 organic compounds in a sewage treatment plant (STP) located in the south of Spain. These results are part of a more extensive study, financed by the Spanish Ministry of Research with the aim to evaluate the traceability of new pollutants on the Mediterranean coast and to determine the removal efficiency of sewage treatment plants (STP) for these pollutants. The compounds which have been analyzed include pharmaceuticals of various therapeutic categories (ibuprofen, acetaminophen, dipyrone, diclofenac, carbamazepine and codeine), pesticides (chlorfenvinfos and permethrin), caffeine, triclosan, bisphenol A and three of their more relevant metabolites (1,7-dimethylxanthine, carbamazepine 10,11-epoxide and 2,7/2,8-dichlorodibenzo-p-dioxin). An SPE/GC-MS multi-residue analytical method was developed and validated to facilitate simultaneous determination of these compounds in both influent and effluent wastewater. The method provided mean recoveries higher than 75%, with the exception of 2,7/2,8-dichlorodibenzo-p-dioxin, dipyrone and permethrin which exhibited recoveries lower than 22%. The overall variability of the method was below 14%. The method detection limit (LOD) was between 1 and 100 ng l(-1) and precision, which was calculated as relative standard deviation (RSD), ranged from 1.8% to 11.2%. The application of the proposed method has allowed the identification of all the target compounds at mean concentrations which ranged from 0.12 to 134 microg l(-1) in the influent and from 0.09 to 18.0 microg l(-1) in the effluent. The removal efficiencies of the STP for these compounds varied from 20% (carbamazepine) to 99% (acetaminophen), but in all cases resulted insufficient in order to avoid their presence in treated water and subsequently in the environment.
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