A number of 2-substituted benzothiazoles that are known to be used as fungicides, corrosion inhibitors and vulcanization accelerators in industry have been analyzed in municipal wastewater and the effluents of activated sludge and membrane bioreactor (MBR) treatment over a three month period. All six analytes were regularly detected in the municipal wastewater by liquid chromatography-mass spectrometry and amount to a total concentration of 3.4 μg/L. Of these compounds benzothiazole-2-sulfonic acid (1,700 ng/L), benzothiazole (850 ng/L) and 2-hydroxybenzothiazole (500 ng/L) were most prominent. The source of the benzothiazole emission is yet unknown. Activated sludge treatment did not reduce total benzothiazole concentration significantly. Removals of the individual compounds ranged from 90% for 2-mercaptobenzothiazole and 70% for hydroxybenzothiazole to 40% for benzothiazole. The concentration of benzothiazole-2-sulfonic acid increased by 20%, whereas 2-methylthiobenzothiazole increased by 160% during activated sludge treatment, likely due to the methylation of mercaptobenzothiazole. Total benzothiazole removal in two parallely operated MBRs was significantly better (43%) than in the conventional activated sludge treatment. Namely benzothiazole and benzothiazole-2-sulfonic acid were more effectively removed. This first systematic study on the occurrence of benzothiazoles in municipal wastewater has shown that this is a relevant class of trace contaminants in municipal wastewater which is only incompletely removed in biological wastewater treatment. Emission from sewage treatment is dominated by the most polar benzothiazole-2-sulfonic acid. MBR treatment may reduce but cannot avoid this emission.

This content is only available as a PDF.
You do not currently have access to this content.