Endocrine disrupting compounds can affect the hormone system in organisms. Industrial chemicals with estrogenic effects were detected in large quantities in landfill leachates. Membrane technology has proven to be an effective barrier to these substances and thus widely applied in the treatment of landfill leachate. The removal techniques under investigation are membrane bioreactors, nanofiltration, activated carbon adsorption, ozonation as well as reverse osmosis. Investigations were conducted at two different landfill leachate treatment plants with a variety of process configurations. The xenoestrogenic substances nonylphenol and bisphenol A were detected in high μg/L-ranges in raw landfill leachate. Membrane bioreactors (MBRs) were capable of removing more than 80% of the nonylphenol load. Final effluent concentrations range between 1-12 μg/L nonylphenol and 3-30 μg/L bisphenol A respectively. Reverse osmosis treatment proved to be less effective in nonylphenol and bisphenol A removal than MBRs with further polishing stages like nanofiltration and activated carbon adsorption.

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