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Which type of pollutants need to be controlled with priority in wastewater treatment plants: Traditional or emerging pollutants?

08:00 EDT 9th July 2019 | BioPortfolio

Summary of "Which type of pollutants need to be controlled with priority in wastewater treatment plants: Traditional or emerging pollutants?"

Although wastewater treatment plants (WWTPs) can purify wastewater, they also discharge numerous contaminants into the environment through effluent discharge and sludge disposal. The occurrence, emission flux, and risk assessment of traditional pollutants (e.g., heavy metals [HMs]), and emerging pollutants (e.g., perfluoroalkyl substances [PFASs] and pharmaceutical and personal care products [PPCPs]) in WWTP emissions are of important concern. The present study analyzed 17 PFASs, 25 PPCPs, and 8 HMs in influent, effluent, and excess sludge from six WWTPs along the Yanghe River, North China. Samples were collected during four sampling campaigns from November 2016 to July 2017. The mean concentrations of PFASs and PPCPs in influent were 46.4 ng L and 6.57 μg L, respectively; while those in effluent were 38.5 ng L and 2.14 μg L, respectively. The highest concentrations of HMs was detected of Zn in influent (2,866 μg L) and effluent (3,960 μg L). According to the concentration composition, short-chain PFASs, fluoroquinolones (FQs), and Zn were the predominant components in both influents and effluents. The mean PFAS and PPCP concentrations in excess sludge were 5.95 ng g and 3.74 μg g dry weight (dw). Zn was the most abundant HMs in excess sludge with the concentration range of 156-14,271 μg g dw. The compositions of PFASs, PPCPs and HMs differed between wastewater and excess sludge. The estimated emission flux of these pollutants was ordered as HMs > PPCPs > PFASs through effluent discharge and sludge disposal. Sludge disposal discharged more PPCPs and HMs into the environment than effluent discharge, which was contrary for PFASs. Relative risk of each pollutant is calculated by comparing the mean effluent concentration with the median effective concentration. Algae and fish were selected as recipient organisms to calculate the relative risk of 23 selected pollutants towards aquatic organisms. The highest-risk pollutant was Zn on both algae and fish, while perfluorobutane sulfonate (PFBS) and atenolol (ATE) posed the lowest risk. In general, HMs (regarded as traditional pollutants) presented higher risks in effluent, followed by the emerging pollutants (PPCPs and PFASs). Therefore, control of traditional pollutants should be prioritized in WWTPs in this region. This study presents an overall assessment of the current status of traditional and emerging pollutants in WWTPs and provides useful information for upgrading wastewater treatment processes.

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This article was published in the following journal.

Name: Environment international
ISSN: 1873-6750
Pages: 104982

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