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Sci Total Environ. 2013 Oct 1;463-464:1067-75. doi: 10.1016/j.scitotenv.2013.06.087. Epub 2013 Jul 25.

Contribution of primary and secondary treatment on the removal of benzothiazoles, benzotriazoles, endocrine disruptors, pharmaceuticals and perfluorinated compounds in a sewage treatment plant.

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  • 1Department of Environment, Water and Air Quality Laboratory, University of the Aegean, University Hill, Mytilene 81100, Greece. Electronic address:


The occurrence and fate of 36 emerging contaminants, belonging to five different classes, (benzotriazoles, BTRs; benzothiazoles, BTHs; perfluorinated compounds, PFCs; non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, NSAIDs and endocrine disruptors, EDCs) were investigated in raw, treated wastewater (both particulate and dissolved phases), and in sludge from a sewage treatment plant (STP) in Athens, Greece. The average concentrations of BTRs, BTHs, NSAIDs and EDCs in raw wastewater ranged between 11 ng L(-1) and 7.27 μg L(-1), while PFCs did not exceed 100 ng L(-1). In dewatered sludge, the average concentrations ranged between 0.8 ng g(-1) dw (perfluorohexanoic acid, PFHxA) and 3895 ng g(-1) dw (nonylphenol, NP). The distribution of emerging contaminants between particulate and dissolved phase was different among the compounds. BTRs and BTHs showed lower solid-liquid distribution coefficients (Kd) than all other compounds. For 9 over the 27 compounds detected in influents, the removal efficiency was higher than 70%, while the others either were removed to a lesser extent or detected at higher concentrations in effluents. Based on this, advanced treatment processes should be applied in the future for achieving adequate emerging contaminants removal in STPs. Regarding removal mechanisms, almost 60% of BTRs and 30 to 75% of BTHs were removed in bioreactors, while the contribution of primary and secondary clarifiers was of minor importance. Sorption to primary sludge was a significant mechanism affecting EDCs fate in STP.

© 2013 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.


Activated sludge; Biodegradation; Micropollutants; Presence; Removal; Sorption

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