Pharmaceuticals and personal care products (PPCPs) in Australia's largest inland sewage treatment plant, and its contribution to a major Australian river during high and low flow

Roberts, Jenna, Kumar, Anupama, Du, Jun, Hepplewhite, Christopher, Ellis, David J., Christy, Andrew G. and Beavis, Sara G. (2016) Pharmaceuticals and personal care products (PPCPs) in Australia's largest inland sewage treatment plant, and its contribution to a major Australian river during high and low flow. Science of the Total Environment, 541 1625-1637. doi:10.1016/j.scitotenv.2015.03.145


Author Roberts, Jenna
Kumar, Anupama
Du, Jun
Hepplewhite, Christopher
Ellis, David J.
Christy, Andrew G.
Beavis, Sara G.
Title Pharmaceuticals and personal care products (PPCPs) in Australia's largest inland sewage treatment plant, and its contribution to a major Australian river during high and low flow
Journal name Science of the Total Environment   Check publisher's open access policy
ISSN 1879-1026
0048-9697
Publication date 2016-01-15
Year available 2015
Sub-type Article (original research)
DOI 10.1016/j.scitotenv.2015.03.145
Open Access Status Not yet assessed
Volume 541
Start page 1625
End page 1637
Total pages 13
Place of publication Amsterdam, Netherlands
Publisher Elsevier BV
Language eng
Subject 2305 Environmental Engineering
2304 Environmental Chemistry
2311 Waste Management and Disposal
2310 Pollution
Abstract Reports of pharmaceuticals in STPs and aquatic systems in the northern hemisphere have surged over the last decade. However, the Australian evidence base is relatively limited, and information on the role of seasonal dilution in attenuation of micropollutants is also scarce. We investigated the removal of 11 PPCPs during sewage treatment in Australia's largest inland STP, and concentrations in the effluent-receiving environment under 2 dilution scenarios. Five treatment stages were sampled, as well as upstream and downstream of the effluent outfall in the Lower Molonglo/Upper Murrumbidgee Catchment, which is dominated by effluent flow during dry periods.Compounds of interest include carbamazepine (CBZ), venlafaxine (VEN), sertraline (SER), fluoxetine (FLX), atenolol (ATL), sotalol (SOT), metoprolol (MET) propranolol (PRL), chlorpheniramine (CHP), diphenhydramine (DPH), and triclosan (TCS). Removal of most pharmaceuticals in the STP was incomplete, although the degree of removal was highly variable for compounds in the same therapeutic class, and for the same compounds in different seasons. Removal efficiency was highest for TCS and lowest for VEN (effluent concentrations 5-7 times higher than influent). Influent mass loads and removal efficiencies of cardiovascular medicines varied considerably. Effluent loads were highest for CBZ, VEN and SOT in both seasons (up to 64. g/day). The dilution conditions were clearly reflected in the 'zone of impact' of PPCPs in the catchment. This study confirms that risk assessment models for PPCPs must account for seasonality of influent loads and removal efficiency of STPs, and site validation is critical for predictive capability. Seasonal dilution can play an important role in ameliorating potentially adverse effects related to mixtures of PPCPs in effluent-impacted systems.
Formatted abstract
Reports of pharmaceuticals in STPs and aquatic systems in the northern hemisphere have surged over the last decade. However, the Australian evidence base is relatively limited, and information on the role of seasonal dilution in attenuation of micropollutants is also scarce. We investigated the removal of 11 PPCPs during sewage treatment in Australia's largest inland STP, and concentrations in the effluent-receiving environment under 2 dilution scenarios. Five treatment stages were sampled, as well as upstream and downstream of the effluent outfall in the Lower Molonglo/Upper Murrumbidgee Catchment, which is dominated by effluent flow during dry periods.

Compounds of interest include carbamazepine (CBZ), venlafaxine (VEN), sertraline (SER), fluoxetine (FLX), atenolol (ATL), sotalol (SOT), metoprolol (MET) propranolol (PRL), chlorpheniramine (CHP), diphenhydramine (DPH), and triclosan (TCS). Removal of most pharmaceuticals in the STP was incomplete, although the degree of removal was highly variable for compounds in the same therapeutic class, and for the same compounds in different seasons. Removal efficiency was highest for TCS and lowest for VEN (effluent concentrations 5–7 times higher than influent). Influent mass loads and removal efficiencies of cardiovascular medicines varied considerably. Effluent loads were highest for CBZ, VEN and SOT in both seasons (up to 64 g/day). The dilution conditions were clearly reflected in the ‘zone of impact’ of PPCPs in the catchment. This study confirms that risk assessment models for PPCPs must account for seasonality of influent loads and removal efficiency of STPs, and site validation is critical for predictive capability. Seasonal dilution can play an important role in ameliorating potentially adverse effects related to mixtures of PPCPs in effluent-impacted systems.
Keyword Australia
Freshwater
Personal care products
Pharmaceuticals
Seasonal
Sewage
Q-Index Code C1
Q-Index Status Provisional Code
Institutional Status Non-UQ

Document type: Journal Article
Sub-type: Article (original research)
Collections: School of Earth Sciences Publications
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