Ninety-nine pharmaceuticals and personal care products (PPCPs) were analyzed in influent, final effluent, and biosolids samples from a wastewater treatment plant employing a membrane bioreactor (MBR). High concentrations in influent were found for acetaminophen, caffeine, metformin, 2-hydroxy-ibuprofen, paraxanthine, ibuprofen, and naproxen (104–105 ng/L). Final effluents contained clarithromycin, metformin, atenolol, carbamazepine, and trimethoprim (>500 ng/L) at the highest concentrations, while triclosan, ciprofloxacin, norfloxacin, triclocarban, metformin, caffeine, ofloxacin, and paraxanthine were found at high concentrations in biosolids (>103 ng/g dry weight). PPCP removals varied from −34% to >99% and 23 PPCPs had ≥90% removal. Of the studied PPCPs, 26 compounds have been rarely or never studied in previous membrane bioreactor (MBR) investigations. The removal pathway showed that acetaminophen, 2-hydroxy-ibuprofen, naproxen, ibuprofen, codeine, metformin, enalapril, atorvastatin, caffeine, paraxanthine, and cotinine exhibited high degradation/transformation. PPCPs showing strong sorption to solids included triclocarban, triclosan, miconazole, tetracycline, 4-epitetracycline, norfloxacin, ciprofloxacin, doxycycline, paroxetine, and ofloxacin. Trimethoprim, oxycodone, clarithromycin, thiabendazole, hydrochlorothiazide, erythromycin-H2O, carbamazepine, meprobamate, and propranolol were not removed during treatment, and clarithromycin was even formed during treatment. This investigation extended our understanding of the occurrence and fate of PPCPs in an MBR process through the analysis of the largest number of compounds in an MBR study to date.
Removal of pharmaceuticals and personal care products in a membrane bioreactor wastewater treatment plant
M. Kim, P. Guerra, A. Shah, M. Parsa, M. Alaee, S. A. Smyth; Removal of pharmaceuticals and personal care products in a membrane bioreactor wastewater treatment plant. Water Sci Technol 1 June 2014; 69 (11): 2221–2229. doi: https://doi.org/10.2166/wst.2014.145
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