This work investigated the occurrence of pharmaceuticals and endocrine disrupting compounds (EDCs) in raw sewage (from Belo Horizonte city, Minas Gerais state, Brazil) and assessed their behavior in demo-scale upflow anaerobic sludge blanket reactors (UASB reactors) operated at different hydraulic retention times (HRT). The dissolved concentration of the studied micropollutants in the raw and treated sewage was obtained using solid phase extraction (SPE) followed by analysis in a liquid chromatography system coupled to a hybrid high resolution mass spectrometer consisting of an ion-trap and time of flight (LC-MS-IT-TOF). The natural (estradiol) and synthetic (ethinylestradiol) estrogens were hardly detected; when present, however, their concentrations were lower than the method quantification limits. The concentrations of bisphenol A and miconazole in raw sewage were similar to that reported in the literature (around 200 ng L−1 and hardly detected, respectively). The antibiotics sulfamethoxazole (median 13.0 ng L−1) and trimethoprim (median 61.5 ng L−1), and the other pharmaceutical compounds (diclofenac and bezafibrate, with median 99.9 and 94.4 ng L−1, respectively) were found in lower concentrations when compared with reports in the literature, which might indicate a lower consumption of such drugs in Brazil. The UASB reactors were inefficient in the removal of bisphenol A, and led to an increased concentration of nonylphenol in the effluent. The anaerobic reactors were also inefficient in the removal of diclofenac, and led to a partial removal of bezafibrate; whereas, for sulfamethoxazole there seemed to be a direct relationship between the HRT and removal efficiencies. For trimethoprim the sludge retention time (SRT) seemed to play an important role, although it was only partially removed in the UASB reactors.
Occurrence of pharmaceuticals and endocrine disruptors in raw sewage and their behavior in UASB reactors operated at different hydraulic retention times
F. B. Queiroz, E. M. F. Brandt, S. F. Aquino, C. A. L. Chernicharo, R. J. C. F. Afonso; Occurrence of pharmaceuticals and endocrine disruptors in raw sewage and their behavior in UASB reactors operated at different hydraulic retention times. Water Sci Technol 1 December 2012; 66 (12): 2562–2569. doi: https://doi.org/10.2166/wst.2012.482
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