Although many publications are available on the fate of estrone (E1), 17β-estradiol (E2) and 17α-ethynylestradiol (EE2) during aerobic wastewater treatment, little is published on their fate under strictly anaerobic conditions. Present research investigated the digestibility of E1 and EE2, using digested pig manure, granular UASB sludge, UASB-septic tank sludge and activated sludge as inocula. Besides, actual concentrations were measured in a UASB septic tank treating black water. Under anaerobic conditions E1 is reduced to E2 but the extent of this reduction depends on type of inoculum. No significant loss of the sum of E1 and E2 and of EE2 was observed. Adsorption was responsible for a 32–35% loss of E1 and E2 from the liquid phase in the UASB septic tank and the effluent still contained considerable concentrations of respectively 4.02 μg/l and 18.79 μg/l for E1 and E2 with a large fraction present in conjugated form. No EE2 was detected in the UASB effluent

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