The effluent of 17 sewage treatment works (STW) across Norway, Sweden, Finland, The Netherlands, Belgium, Germany, France and Switzerland was studied for the presence of estradiol (E2), estrone (E1), ethinylestradiol (EE2) and nonylphenol (NP). Treatment processes included primary and chemical treatment only, submerged aerated filter, oxidation ditch, activated sludge (AS) and combined trickling filter with activated sludge. The effluent strength ranged between 87 and 846 L/PE (population equivalent), the total hydraulic retention time (HRT) ranged between 4 and 120 h, sludge retention time (SRT) between 3 and 30 d, and water temperature ranged from 12 to 21 °C. The highest estrogen values were detected in the effluent of the STW which only used primary treatment (13 ng/L E2 and 35 ng/L E1) and on one occasion in one of the STW using the AS system (6.5 ng/L E2, 50.5 ng/L E1, but on three other occasions the concentrations in this STW were at least a factor of 6 lower). For the 16 STW employing secondary treatment E2 was only detected in the effluent of six works during the study period (average 0.7–5.7 ng/L). E1 was detected in the effluent of 13 of the same STW. The median value for E1 for the 16 STW with secondary treatment was 3.0 ng/L. EE2 was only detected in two STW (1.1, <0.8–2.8 ng/L). NP could be detected in the effluent of all 14 STW where this measurement was attempted, with a median of 0.31 μg/L and values ranging from 0.05 to 1.31 μg/L. A comparison of removal performance for E1 was carried out following prediction of the probable influent concentration. A weak but significant ( α <5%) correlation between E1 removal and HRT or SRT was observed.
Water Research – Elsevier
Published: Jan 1, 2005
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