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Fate of Estrogens during the Biological Treatment of Synthetic Wastewater in a Nitrite-Accumulating Sequencing Batch Reactor

Lookup NU author(s): Patiroop Pholchan, Dr Martin Jones, Professor Thomas Donnelly, Dr Paul Sallis


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The fate of estrone (E1), 17β-estradiol (E2), and 17α- ethynylestradiol (EE2) was investigated in two nitrite-accumulating sequencing batch reactors operating under strictly aerobic (SBR1) conditions at different sludge ages (SRT, 1.7 to 17.1 d) and anoxic/anaerobic/aerobic (SBR2) conditions with different phases and durations of redox conditions, using a modified GC-MS analytical method for estrogen detection to ng/L concentrations. In SBR1, ≥98% of E2 was removed (specific E2 removal rate ranged from 0.375 (at SRT 17.1 d) to 2.625 (at SRT 1.7 d) μg E2·g MLVSS -1·d-1) regardless of SRT or DO (<1.0 to >5.0 mg/L). Removal of E1 and, to a greater extent, EE2 was adversely affected when this reactor was operated at SRT shorter than 5.7 d. However, whereas E1 was removed efficiently as long as SRT was long enough for AOB to bring about nitritation, EE2 removal efficiency was significantly lower when SBR1 was operated at SRT longer than 7.5 d. This reduced removal of EE2 may have been caused by the inhibition and toxicity of nitrite, both to the ammonium monooxygenase (AMO) and to the microbial population generally. In SBR2, less removal of E2 was found at the lower MLVSS concentrations, and E1 was not removed by sludge with poor settling qualities. The removal of EE2 observed in SBR2 was considered to be mainly a result of sorption. However, the binding of estrogens to the sludge in this reactor was apparently not as strong as the binding observed in the sludge of the strictly aerobic SBR1, since desorption was observed during the aeration phase in SBR2. © 2008 American Chemical Society.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Pholchan P, Jones M, Donnelly T, Sallis PJ

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: Environmental Science and Technology

Year: 2008

Volume: 42

Issue: 16

Pages: 6141-6147

ISSN (print): 0013-936X

ISSN (electronic): 1520-5851

Publisher: American Chemical Society


DOI: 10.1021/es800891u


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