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Laboratory, Australia

Reungoat J.,University of Queensland | Macova M.,University of Queensland | Escher B.I.,University of Queensland | Carswell S.,University of Queensland | And 3 more authors.
Water Research

Pharmaceutical compounds are found in secondary treated effluents up to μg L-1 levels and therefore discharged into surface waters. Since the long term effects of these compounds on the environment and human health are, to date, largely unknown, implementation of advanced treatment of wastewaters is envisaged to reduce their discharge. This is of particular relevance where surface waters are used as drinking water sources and when considering indirect potable reuse. This study aimed at assessing the removal of organic micropollutants and the concurrent reduction of their biological activity in a full scale reclamation plant treating secondary effluent. The treatment consists of 6 stages: denitrification, pre-ozonation, coagulation/flocculation/dissolved air flotation and filtration (DAFF), main ozonation, activated carbon filtration and final ozonation for disinfection. For that purpose, representative 24-hour composite samples were collected after each stage. The occurrence of 85 compounds was monitored by LC/MS-MS. A battery of 6 bioassays was also used as a complementary tool to evaluate non-specific toxicity and 5 specific toxic modes of action. Results show that, among the 54 micropollutants quantified in the influent water, 50 were removed to below their limit of quantification representing more than 90% of concentration reduction. Biological activity was reduced, depending on the specific response that was assessed, from a minimum of 62% (AhR response) to more than 99% (estrogenicity). The key processes responsible for the plant's performances were the coagulation/flocculation/DAFF, main ozonation and activated carbon filtration. The effect of these 3 processes varied from one compound or bioassay to another but their combination was almost totally responsible for the overall observed reduction. Bioassays yielded complementary information, e.g. estrogenic compounds were not detected in the secondary effluent by chemical analysis, but the samples had an estrogenic effect. The main ozonation formed oxidation by-products of the organic micropollutants but decreased the level of non-specific toxicity and other specific toxic modes of action, demonstrating that the mixture of oxidation by-products was less potent than the mixture of the parent compounds for the considered effects. © 2009 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved. Source

Farre M.J.,University of Queensland | Keller J.,University of Queensland | Holling N.,Organics Laboratory | Poussade Y.,Veolia Water Australia | Gernjak W.,University of Queensland
Water Science and Technology

The formation of N-nitrosodimethylamine (NDMA) is of major concern among wastewater recycling utilities practicing disinfection with chloramines. The NDMA formation potential (FP) test is a simple and straightforward method to evaluate NDMA precursor concentrations in waters. In this paper we show the NDMA FP results of a range of tertiary wastewater treatment plants that are also the source for production of recycled water using an Ultrafiltration - Reverse Osmosis (UF-RO) membrane process. The results indicate that the NDMA FP of different source waters range from 350 to 1020±20 ng/L. The fate of these NDMA precursors was also studied across the different stages of two Advanced Water Treatment Plants (AWTP) producing recycled water. These results show that more than 98.5±0.5% of NDMA precursors are effectively removed by the Reverse Osmosis (RO) membranes used at the AWTPs. This drastically reduces any potential for re-formation of NDMA after the RO stage even if chloramines may be present (or added) there. © IWA Publishing 2011. Source

Ort C.,University of Queensland | Lawrence M.G.,University of Queensland | Reungoat J.,University of Queensland | Eaglesham G.,Organics Laboratory | And 2 more authors.
Water Research

Pharmaceutical residues in water are frequently analysed and discussed in connection with sewage treatment, ecotoxicity and, natural and drinking water quality. Among different localities hospitals are suspected, or implied, to be a major and highly variable source of pharmaceuticals that substantially contribute to the total wastewater load. In this study, the contribution of pharmaceuticals from a hospital to a sewage treatment plant (STP) serving around 45,000 inhabitants was evaluated. Approximately 200 hospital beds result in a hospital bed density of 4.4 beds per 1000 inhabitants, which is a typical value for developed world countries. Prior to sampling, a sound systems analysis was performed, and a sophisticated continuous flow-proportional sampling regime was applied. Hence, overall experimental uncertainty was reduced to a minimum, and measurements provide clear evidence that, for 28 of 59 investigated substances, over 85% of the pharmaceutical residue loads do not originate from the hospital when applying a conservative error estimation. Only for 2 substances, trimethoprim (18%) and roxithromycin (56%), was the maximum observed contribution of the hospital >15%. On average, the contribution of the hospital for the compounds detected in both, hospital effluent and sewage treatment plant influent was small and fairly constant. Five compounds were only detected in hospital wastewater, and 24 neither in the hospital wastewater nor in the total wastewater at the influent of the STP. For these compounds no experimental contribution could be calculated. For the compounds where audit data for both the national consumption and the specific hospital under investigation were available, a prediction of the fraction of pharmaceuticals originating from the hospital was performed. Three quarters of the compounds, classified with the existing audit data, were in the same "hospital contribution category" as determined by measurements. For most of the other compounds, plausible reasons could be identified to explain the observed deviations. © 2009 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved. Source

Cheng X.,Organics Laboratory | Forsythe J.,Organics Laboratory | Peterkin E.,Organics Laboratory
Water Research

Solid phase microextraction (SPME) opened up a new era in separation science and the technique has developed quickly over the past two decades. However, there are still aspects deserving more study. In this study, the effects of salt-addition, SPME fiber thickness and sample vial size on the analysis of PAHs in the aqueous phase were evaluated. An analytical method based on EPA Method 8272 was devised for the analysis of PAHs in environmental water. PAHs were analyzed in selected waterways of the greater Philadelphia area. The results show the feasible application of this method to determine the range, spatial variation of PAH concentration, composition profile and relationship with dissolved organic matter for the Philadelphia watershed. Based on above information, PAH pollution sources were evaluated along with their dynamic backgrounds. Comparison of PAH concentration in the studied area with those of other urban waterways worldwide shows that PAHs in the studied waterways were found, in this study, to be within the low range of reported concentrations and meet the criteria of the World Health Organization (WHO). The results also demonstrate that this method is suitable and reliable in monitoring PAH concentrations in environmental water. © 2013. Source

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