Fate and distribution of pharmaceuticals in wastewater and sewage sludge of the conventional activated sludge (CAS) and advanced membrane bioreactor (MBR) treatment

In this paper we report on the performances of full-scale conventional activated sludge treatment and two pilot-scale membrane bioreactors in eliminating various pharmaceutically active compounds belonging to different therapeutic groups and with diverse physico-chemical properties

Jelena Radjenović; Mira Petrović; Damià Barceló

2008

Scholarcy highlights

  • In this paper we report on the performances of full-scale conventional activated sludge treatment and two pilot-scale membrane bioreactors in eliminating various pharmaceutically active compounds belonging to different therapeutic groups and with diverse physico-chemical properties
  • The most ubiquitous contaminants in the sewage water were analgesics and anti-inflammatory drugs ibuprofen and acetaminophen, antibiotic ofloxacin, lipid regulators gemfibrozil and bezafibrate, β-blocker atenolol, hypoglycaemic agent glibenclamide and a diuretic hydrochlorothiazide. Several pharmaceuticals such as ibuprofen, ketoprofen, diclofenac, ofloxacin and azithromycin were detected in sewage sludge at concentrations up to 741.1, 336.3, 380.7, 454.7 and 299.6 ng/g dry weight
  • Two pilot-scale MBRs exhibited enhanced elimination of several pharmaceutical residues poorly removed by the CAS treatment, whereas in some cases more stable operation of one of the MBR reactors at prolonged SRT proved to be detrimental for the elimination of some compounds
  • The results obtained for the solid phase indicated that MBR wastewater treatment yielding higher biodegradation rate could reduce the load of pollutants in the sludge
  • Out of the 26 pharmaceutical residues passing through the WWTP, 20 were detected in the treated sludge that is further applied on farmland

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