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Sci Total Environ. 2010 Sep 1;408(19):4257-69. doi: 10.1016/j.scitotenv.2010.05.023. Epub 2010 Jun 17.

Occurrence and removal of estrogens and beta blockers by various processes in wastewater treatment plants.

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Cemagref, UR MALY, 3 bis quai Chauveau - CP220, F-69336 Lyon Cedex 09, France.


This study aims at evaluating occurrence and treatment efficiency of five estrogenic hormones and ten beta blockers in wastewater treatment plants (WWTP). The use of consistent sampling procedures, analytical techniques and data processing enabled to achieve an accurate comparison of the performances of the different treatment processes. First, the occurrence of molecules was evaluated in fourteen rural and urban WWTP located in France. Free and total estrogens were analyzed showing that more than 84% of estrogens in the dissolved phase of influent samples are in the free form. In effluent samples, comparable mean values but higher variation are underlined (RSD from 13 to 54% depending on the estrogen, compared to 11-21% for influents). Most of the target molecules are quantified in 30 influent and 31 effluent samples. Similar occurrence frequencies are obtained for influents from rural (6 WWTP) and urban areas (8 WWTP), except for betaxolol which is only quantified in urban wastewaters. Removal efficiencies of 8 biological treatments were studied: suspended growth biomass (activated sludge) and attached growth systems (biofilter, rotating biological contactor, reed-bed filter, trickling filter). Biological treatments are efficient to remove estrogens from the dissolved phase, with removal rate around 90%. For beta blockers, acebutolol and nadolol are efficiently removed (mean removal rate of 80%), whereas sotalol and propranolol are hardly impacted by biological treatments (removal rate below 20%). Finally, 9 tertiary treatment processes were evaluated. Ozonation, reverse osmosis and activated carbon filtration prove a high removal efficiency for beta blockers (above 80%). On the contrary, high speed chemical settler, sand filtration, silex filtration, microfiltration and UV present generally removal rates below 30% for all beta blockers. The polishing pond studied presents variable removal performances depending on the molecules (up to 75% for propranolol). The role of the hydraulic retention time on the removal efficiencies is confirmed.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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