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Sci Total Environ. 2008 Dec 15;407(1):263-72. doi: 10.1016/j.scitotenv.2008.08.015. Epub 2008 Sep 23.

Priority pollutants in wastewater and combined sewer overflow.

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Université Paris-Est, Cereve, UMR-MA102 - AgroParisTech, 61 avenue du Gal de Gaulle, 94010 Créteil Cedex, France.


Implementation of the European Water Framework Directive and its affiliated directives requires Member States to improve their understanding of priority pollutants (PPs) in urban areas and obviously within wastewater systems. As a direct consequence, this study is intended to furnish data on both PP occurrence and the significance of concentrations in wastewater during dry and wet periods within combined sewers. Various sampling sites within the Paris combined sewer network were selected; for each sample, a total of 66 determinants, including metals, polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs), pesticides, organotins, volatile organic compounds, chlorobenzenes, phthalates and alkylphenols, were analysed. A broad range of PPs was observed in wastewater during dry as well as wet weather periods. Of the 66 elements investigated, 33 and 40 priority substances could be observed in raw sewage and wet weather effluent, respectively. As expected, a majority of metals were present in all samples, reflecting their ubiquitous nature. For both periods, chlorobenzenes and most of the pesticides always remained below the limit of quantification, while the majority of other organic pollutants assessed were identified within the microg l(-1) range. As highlighted by the larger number of substances detected in wet weather samples and the significance of their concentrations, runoff via atmospheric inputs and/or surface leaching was found to induce a wider range of PPs (n=40) and lead to higher concentrations of certain metals, PAHs, pesticides and other individual compounds. The data generated during this survey, which constitutes one of the first studies conducted in Europe to report concentrations for a variety of priority substances in wastewater within combined sewers, may be used in the future to identify PPs of potential significance for dry and wet weather periods and targeted for further investigation.

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