The fate and removal of the estrogens 17β‐estradiol (E2), estrone (E1), and 17α‐ethynylestradiol (EE2) and of the xenoestrogens bisphenol A (BPA), 4‐tert‐octylphenol (4‐t‐OP), 4‐nonylphenol (4‐NP), and nonylphenol mono‐ and diethoxylate (NPEO1 and NPEO2, respectively) were investigated in four South Australian sewage treatment plants (STPs; plants A–D) with different treatment technologies. The concentrations in the effluent from the two‐year survey were similar to those reported in other studies. In the effluent, 4‐NP, NPEO1, and NPEO2 had total concentrations up to 8 μg/L, which were much higher than those of BPA and 4‐t‐OP. Estrone had the highest concentrations among the three estrogens, ranging between 13.3 and 39.3 ng/L, whereas the concentrations for E2 and EE2 varied between 1.0 and 4.2 ng/L and between 0.1 and 1.3 ng/L, respectively. The removal rates for the estrogens and xenoestrogens were variable but consistent with the plant performance parameters (biochemical oxygen demand, suspended solids, and ammonia). Considering all the estrogenic compounds analyzed in the present study, plant D, with a series of anaerobic and aerobic lagoons, was the least efficient of the four STPs in the removal of these compounds. The removal rates for 4‐NP, NPEO1, and NPEO2 within the plants were 92% for plant A, with conventional activated sludge treatment; 80% for plant B, with two oxidation ditches; 70% for plant C, with three bioreactors; and 64% for plant D, with 10 lagoons in series. Comparatively, the removal of estrogens was lower, with rates ranging between 47 and 68% for E2 at the four plants. Both E1 and EE2 were more persistent during treatment, especially in plants C and D.
Environmental Toxicology & Chemistry – Wiley
Published: Jan 1, 2008
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