The occurrence of antibiotics in an urban watershed: from wastewater to drinking water

Watkinson, A. J., Murby, E. J., Kolpin, D. W. and Costanzo, S. D. (2009) The occurrence of antibiotics in an urban watershed: from wastewater to drinking water. Science of the Total Environment, 407 8: 2711-2723. doi:10.1016/j.scitotenv.2008.11.059


Author Watkinson, A. J.
Murby, E. J.
Kolpin, D. W.
Costanzo, S. D.
Title The occurrence of antibiotics in an urban watershed: from wastewater to drinking water
Journal name Science of the Total Environment   Check publisher's open access policy
ISSN 0048-9697
1879-1026
Publication date 2009-04-01
Sub-type Article (original research)
DOI 10.1016/j.scitotenv.2008.11.059
Open Access Status Not yet assessed
Volume 407
Issue 8
Start page 2711
End page 2723
Total pages 13
Place of publication Amsterdam, Netherlands
Publisher Elsevier
Language eng
Subject 2304 Environmental Chemistry
2310 Pollution
2311 Waste Management and Disposal
2305 Environmental Engineering
Abstract The presence of 28 antibiotics in three hospital effluents, five wastewater treatment plants (WWTPs), six rivers and a drinking water storage catchment were investigated within watersheds of South-East Queensland, Australia. All antibiotics were detected at least once, with the exception of the polypeptide bacitracin which was not detected at all. Antibiotics were found in hospital effluent ranging from 0.01-14.5 μg L - 1, dominated by the β-lactam, quinolone and sulphonamide groups. Antibiotics were found in WWTP influent up to 64 μg L - 1, dominated by the β-lactam, quinolone and sulphonamide groups. Investigated WWTPs were highly effective in removing antibiotics from the water phase, with an average removal rate of greater than 80% for all targeted antibiotics. However, antibiotics were still detected in WWTP effluents in the low ng L - 1 range up to a maximum of 3.4 μg L - 1, with the macrolide, quinolone and sulphonamide antibiotics most prevalent. Similarly, antibiotics were detected quite frequently in the low ng L - 1 range, up to 2 μg L - 1 in the surface waters of six investigated rivers including freshwater, estuarine and marine samples. The total investigated antibiotic concentration (TIAC) within the Nerang River was significantly lower (p < 0.05) than all other rivers sampled. The absence of WWTP discharge to this river is a likely explanation for the significantly lower TIAC and suggests that WWTP discharges are a dominant source of antibiotics to investigated surface waters. A significant difference (p < 0.001) was identified between TIACs at surface water sites with WWTP discharge compared to sites with no WWTP discharge, providing further evidence that WWTPs are an important source of antibiotics to streams. Despite the presence of antibiotics in surface waters used for drinking water extraction, no targeted antibiotics were detected in any drinking water samples.
Keyword Antibiotics
Drinking
Effluent
Environment
Hospital
Surface waters
Wastewater
Water
Q-Index Code C1
Q-Index Status Provisional Code
Institutional Status Non-UQ

Document type: Journal Article
Sub-type: Article (original research)
Collection: National Research Centre for Environmental Toxicology Publications
 
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