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Environ Sci Technol. 2002 Sep 1;36(17):3855-63.

Removal of pharmaceuticals during drinking water treatment.

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ESWE-Institute for Water Research and Water Technology, Wiesbaden, Germany.


The elimination of selected pharmaceuticals (bezafibrate, clofibric acid, carbamazepine, diclofenac) during drinking water treatment processes was investigated at lab and pilot scale and in real waterworks. No significant removal of pharmaceuticals was observed in batch experiments with sand under natural aerobic and anoxic conditions, thus indicating low sorption properties and high persistence with nonadapted microorganisms. These results were underscored by the presence of carbamazepine in bank-filtrated water with anaerobic conditions in a waterworks area. Flocculation using iron(III) chloride in lab-scale experiments (Jar test) and investigations in waterworks exhibited no significant elimination of the selected target pharmaceuticals. However, ozonation was in some cases very effective in eliminating these polar compounds. In lab-scale experiments, 0.5 mg/L ozone was shown to reduce the concentrations of diclofenac and carbamazepine by more than 90%, while bezafibrate was eliminated by 50% with a 1.5 mg/L ozone dose. Clofibric acid was stable even at 3 mg/L ozone. Under waterworks conditions, similar removal efficiencies were observed. In addition to ozonation, filtration with granular activated carbon (GAC) was very effective in removing pharmaceuticals. Except for clofibric acid, GAC in pilot-scale experiments and waterworks provided a major elimination of the pharmaceuticals under investigation.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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