A study was conducted for about one year on the fate and behavior of estrogens, namely 17β-estradiol (E2), estrone (E1), and estriol (E3) in an activated sludge process of a pilot scale plant supplied with domestic sewage. A simultaneous analytical method for these three substances using LC-MS/MS was developed and applied to sewage samples. The average removal of E2 was 94.7%, while that of E3 was 96.9%. In contrast, the average removal of E1 was relatively low at 69.2% with a maximum concentration of 55.4 ng/L detected in the treated water. The theoretical values of estrogenic activity calculated from the concentrations of each natural estrogen in treated water were found to correlate with the values of estrogenic activity measured by a yeast estrogen screening assay. The effect of E2 on estrogenic activity in influent was found to be high, while that of E1 in treated water was considerably higher. In batch treatment tests on E2, E2 turned into E1 immediately after being charged. After three hours of aeration, the values of both E1 and E2 were around threshold limits. It was determined from this that E1 and E2 were substances that could be degraded by biological treatment. As the removal of E2 was found to be sufficiently high at times, optimization of operational conditions based on E1 removal should be important for reducing estrogenic activity in treated water.
The behavior of estrogenic substances in the biological treatment process of sewage
K. Onda, Y. Nakamura, C. Takatoh, A. Miya, Y. Katsu; The behavior of estrogenic substances in the biological treatment process of sewage. Water Sci Technol 1 May 2003; 47 (9): 109–116. doi: https://doi.org/10.2166/wst.2003.0504
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