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Water Res. 2011 Jan;45(3):1432-42. doi: 10.1016/j.watres.2010.10.036. Epub 2010 Nov 5.

Occurrence and removal of pharmaceuticals and hormones through drinking water treatment.

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AGBAR-Aigües de Barcelona, Av. Diagonal 211, 08018 Barcelona, Spain.


The occurrence of fifty-five pharmaceuticals, hormones and metabolites in raw waters used for drinking water production and their removal through a drinking water treatment were studied. Thirty-five out of fifty-five drugs were detected in the raw water at the facility intake with concentrations up to 1200 ng/L. The behavior of the compounds was studied at each step: prechlorination, coagulation, sand filtration, ozonation, granular activated carbon filtration and post-chlorination; showing that the complete treatment accounted for the complete removal of all the compounds detected in raw waters except for five of them. Phenytoin, atenolol and hydrochlorothiazide were the three pharmaceuticals most frequently found in finished waters at concentrations about 10 ng/L. Sotalol and carbamazepine epoxide were found in less than a half of the samples at lower concentrations, above 2 ng/L. However despite their persistence, the removals of these five pharmaceuticals were higher than 95%.

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