Occurrence and removal of pharmaceuticals and personal care products in different wastewater plants in Mississippi

Author(s): Kwon, J.; Brown, A.; Rodriguez, J.

Residues of pharmaceuticals and personal care products (PPCPs) have been detected in surface waters. It is well known that effluent from wastewater treatment plants (WWTPs) is a major source of contamination of PPCPs in surface waters. The most frequently detected and toxic PPCPs, according to peer-reviewed articles published in the USA, are carbamazepine, sulfamethoxazole, gemfibrozil, and galaxolide. Three wastewater treatment plants (A, B, and C) in Mississippi, with different treatment technologies, were selected. Influent (law water) and effluent (treated water) were sampled from the three WWTPs over the course of one year. Upstream and downstream samples of the WWTPs were also collected. All the four PPCPs were detected in all influents, with galaxolide and sulfamethoxazole showing the highest concentrations of 4,020 ng/L and 3,905 ng/L, respectively while carbamazepine was detected at the lowest levels (66-348 ng/L). All the PPCPs were detected in all effluents except sulfamethoxazole. Different PPCPs were removed to different extent in the WWTPs, varying from -99% to 100%. Carbamazepine showed the lowest removal (-99% to 30%) and gemfibrozil showed the highest (73% to 100%) in the WWTPs. WWTP A gave lower removal rates than WWTPs B and C for sulfamethoxazole. WWTP A showed higher removal rates than WWTPs B and C for galaxolide. Comparing the concentrations of upstream PPCPs to the downstream, there is an apparent increase in concentrations.

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