Fate of oestrogens during anaerobic blackwater treatment with micro-aerobic post-treatment

T.Z.D. de Mes, K. Kujawa-Roeleveld, G. Zeeman, G. Lettinga

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The fate of oestrone (E1), 17b-oestradiol (E2) and 17a-ethynyloestradiol (EE2) was investigated in a concentrated blackwater treatment system consisting of an UASB septic tank, with micro-aerobic post-treatment. In UASB septic tank effluent a (natural) total concentration of 4.02 mg/L E1 and 18.69 mg/L E2, comprising the sum of conjugated (>70% for E1 and >80% for E2) and unconjugated forms, was measured. During post-treatment the unconjugated oestrogens were removed to below 1 mg/L. A percentage of 77% of the measured unconjugated E1 and 82% of E2 was associated with particles >1.2 mm in the final effluent implying high sorption affinity of both compounds. When spiking the UASB septic tank effluent with E1, E2, EE2 and the sulphate conjugate of E2, removal in the micro-aerobic post-treatment was >99% for both E2 and EE2 and 83% for E1. The lower removal value for E1 was a result of (slow) deconjugation during the treatment, and in the final effluent still 40% of E1 and 99% of E2 was present in conjugated form. The latter was the result of incomplete deconjugation of the spiked E2(3S) in the post-treatment system.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)15-23
JournalWater Science and Technology
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 2007


  • waste-water
  • hormones
  • sewage
  • sanitation
  • systems
  • reuse
  • uasb

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