Author(s): Gros M, Petrovi M, Ginebreda A, Barcel D
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Abstract In a long term study, which covered 4 sampling periods over three years, a total number of 84 samples, specifically 28 influent, effluent, from seven WWTP located in the main cities along the Ebro river Basin (North East of Spain), as well as receiving river waters, were analyzed to assess the occurrence of 73 pharmaceuticals covering several medicinal classes. Results indicated that pharmaceuticals are widespread pollutants in the aquatic environmental. Linking the calculation of removal rates with half-lives, assuming that compound degradation followed pseudo-first order kinetics, suggested that conventional wastewater treatments applied at the seven WWTP were unable to completely remove most of the pharmaceuticals under study. The evaluation of compound degradability, in terms of half-lives, is an important task to discuss integrated solutions for mitigation of pollutants entry into the water cycle. High half-lives observed for the majority of pharmaceuticals in WWTP suggest that, in order to enhance compound degradation, higher hydraulic retention times should be required. The wide spectrum of substances detected in receiving river waters indicates that WWTP outlets are major contributors of pharmaceuticals in the aquatic environment. However, municipal wastewater treatment represents an obligatory and final treatment step prior to their release into the aquatic media, since load of pharmaceuticals in outlets were considerably reduced after treatment. Finally, hazard posed by pharmaceuticals in both surface and effluent wastewaters was assessed toward different aquatic organisms, (algae, daphnids and fish). The overall relative order of susceptibility was estimated to be algae>daphnia>fish. Results indicate that no significant risks could be associated to the presence of pharmaceuticals in those matrices, indicating that reduction of compound concentration after wastewater treatment as well as dilution factor once pharmaceuticals are discharged in receiving river water efficiently mitigate possible environmental hazards.
This article was published in Environ Int
and referenced in Journal of Chromatography & Separation Techniques