Numerous investigations in different European countries observed various pharmaceutically active compounds (PhACs) in notable concentrations in the aquatic environment. Further determinations found the effluents of sewage treatment plants (STPs) to be significant sources for the entry of pharmaceutical residuals to rivers, streams and surface waters. Due to those pathways the knowledge about the elimination of these substances and their behaviour in wastewater treatment plants (WWTP) is elementary for protection of an intact aquatic environment. Since the sludge retention time (SRT) is the most important parameter for the design of STPs, its influence on the reduction rate of these PhACs in the wastewater treatment process was investigated. To study this influence of the SRT on the elimination of PhACs, lab scale plants have been operated with different sludge retention times. The results of the laboratory experiments have been validated analysing various STPs within a wide capacity range and operating at different SRTs. This report describes the determinations observed on the antiepileptic drug Carbamazepine, the two antiphlogistics and analgesics Diclofenac and Ibuprofen and the lipid regulator Bezafibrate.

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