Fate of pharmaceuticals in full-scale source separated sanitation system

A. Butkovskyi*, L. Hernandez Leal, H.H.M. Rijnaarts, G. Zeeman

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

15 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Removal of 14 pharmaceuticals and 3 of their transformation products was studied in a full-scale source separated sanitation system with separate collection and treatment of black water and grey water. Black water is treated in an up-flow anaerobic sludge blanket (UASB) reactor followed by oxygen-limited autotrophic nitrification-denitrification in a rotating biological contactor and struvite precipitation. Grey water is treated in an aerobic activated sludge process. Concentration of 10 pharmaceuticals and 2 transformation products in black water ranged between low μg/l to low mg/l. Additionally, 5 pharmaceuticals were also present in grey water in low μg/l range. Pharmaceutical influent loads were distributed over two streams, i.e. diclofenac was present for 70% in grey water, while the other compounds were predominantly associated to black water. Removal in the UASB reactor fed with black water exceeded 70% for 9 pharmaceuticals out of the 12 detected, with only two pharmaceuticals removed by sorption to sludge. Ibuprofen and the transformation product of naproxen, desmethylnaproxen, were removed in the rotating biological contactor. In contrast, only paracetamol removal exceeded 90% in the grey water treatment system while removal of other 7 pharmaceuticals was below 40% or even negative. The efficiency of pharmaceutical removal in the source separated sanitation system was compared with removal in the conventional sewage treatment plants. Furthermore, effluent concentrations of black water and grey water treatment systems were compared with predicted no-effect concentrations to assess toxicity of the effluent. Concentrations of diclofenac, ibuprofen and oxazepam in both effluents were higher than predicted no-effect concentrations, indicating the necessity of post-treatment. Ciprofloxacin, metoprolol and propranolol were found in UASB sludge in μg/g range, while pharmaceutical concentrations in struvite did not exceed the detection limits.

Original languageEnglish
Article number11492
Pages (from-to)384-392
JournalWater Research
Volume85
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2015

Keywords

  • Anaerobic degradation
  • Black water
  • Grey water
  • Micropollutant removal
  • Pharmaceuticals
  • UASB reactor

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