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Behavior of Micropollutants in Polishing Units that Combine Sorption and Biodegradation Mechanisms to Improve the Quality of Activated Sludge Effluent

Lookup NU author(s): Professor David WernerORCiD



This is the authors' accepted manuscript of an article that has been published in its final definitive form by Springer International Publishing, 2018.

For re-use rights please refer to the publisher's terms and conditions.


© 2018, Springer International Publishing AG, part of Springer Nature. The current study evaluated the removal of six micropollutants (estrone (E1); 17β-estradiol (E2); 17α-ethynylestradiol (EE2); ibuprofen (IBP), diclofenac (DCF), and paracetamol (PCT)) from the final effluent of an activated sludge domestic sewage treatment plant using polishing filters. Four polishing filters were assembled as columns and filled with a mixture of sand and vermiculite, sand and charcoal, sand and granulated activated carbon (9:1 by volume), and sand only. The column filters were placed near the outlet of a full-scale activated sludge treatment plant and were fed with a treated effluent containing from 4.71 to 28.93 ng L-1 of the target compounds at a hydraulic loading rate (HLR) of 50 m3 m−2 day−1. Samples were collected periodically from the influent (biologically treated sewage) and effluent of the four columns and analyzed for estrogens, anti-inflammatories, and analgesic compounds. Liquid samples were submitted to a solid phase extraction (SPE) and analyzed by gas chromatography coupled with mass spectrometry after their derivatization. Among the compounds found, diclofenac was distinguished by the high occurrence of detection in the samples (85%) and higher mean concentration (~ 17 ng L−1). High removal efficiency (> 90%) of the estrogens was observed in the polishing systems studied, while for the other targets, the removal efficiency varied from 10 to 30%. The concentration values of some compounds were low, probably due to rainfall during the sampling period.

Publication metadata

Author(s): de Castro LV, Brandt EMF, Campos ACV, de Aquino SF, Werner D, Afonso RJCF, Mota Filho CR

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: Water, Air, and Soil Pollution

Year: 2018

Volume: 229

Issue: 6

Print publication date: 01/06/2018

Online publication date: 30/05/2018

Acceptance date: 24/04/2018

Date deposited: 16/07/2018

ISSN (print): 0049-6979

ISSN (electronic): 1573-2932

Publisher: Springer International Publishing


DOI: 10.1007/s11270-018-3820-3


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