Abstract

Several pharmaceuticals were followed through a drinking water production process on the river Meuse. Tramadol and levetiracetam were the most common compounds while cytostatics were not detected. All compounds found at that intake point had an annual consumption greater than 90 mg/inhabitant. The tracer substance 1,2,3-benzotriazole allowed estimation of the maximal concentration of pharmaceuticals and the evolution profile for tramadol and sotalol. After pre-ozonation of raw water, most pharmaceuticals were completely removed, except levetiracetam and irbesartan, confirming the efficiency of this advanced oxidation process. Irbesartan and levetiracetam were completely removed by granular activated carbon filtration. Levetiracetam was the most reluctant compound. A conventional multi-barrier treatment combining ozone and activated carbon, already used for several decades before implementation in wastewater treatment, can completely remove most pharmaceuticals. Therefore, drinking water without any significant health-related amount of these pharmaceuticals can be produced from surface water.

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