Author(s): Andreozzi R, Raffaele M, Nicklas P
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Abstract The presence of pharmaceutical compounds in surface waters is an emerging environmental issue. Sewage treatment plants (STPs) are recognized as being the main point discharge sources of these substances to the environment. A monitoring campaign of STP effluents was carried out in four European countries (Italy, France, Greece and Sweden). More than 20 individual pharmaceuticals belonging to different therapeutic classes were found. For six selected pharmaceuticals (carbamazepine, diclofenac, clofibric acid, ofloxacin, sulfamethoxazole and propranolol) present in the STP effluents, the persistence towards abiotic photodegradation was evaluated submitting them to solar experiments at 40 degrees N latitude during spring and summer. Based on experimentally measured quantum yields for the direct photolysis in bi-distilled water, half-life times (t(1/2)) at varying seasons and latitude were predicted for each substance. In salt- and organic-free (bi-distilled) water carbamazepine and clofibric acid are characterized by calculated half-life times of the order of 100 days at the highest latitudes (50 degrees N) in winter, whereas under the same conditions sulphamethoxazole, diclofenac, ofloxacin and propranolol undergo fast degradation with t(1/2) respectively of 2.4, 5.0, 10.6 and 16.8 days. For almost all studied compounds, except propranolol the presence of nitrate ions in aqueous solutions results in a reduction of t(1/2). When present, humic acids act as inner filters towards carbamazepine and diclofenac, and as photosensitizers towards sulphamethoxazole, clofibric acid, oflaxocin and propranolol.
This article was published in Chemosphere
and referenced in Journal of Chromatography & Separation Techniques