The impact of variations of influent loading on the efficacy of an advanced tertiary sewage treatment plant to remove endocrine disrupting chemicals

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Journal Article
Science of the Total Environment, 2016, 560-561 pp. 101 - 109
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© 2016 Elsevier B.V. The impact of changes in influent load on the removal of endocrine disrupting chemicals (EDCs) by sewage treatment has not been fully characterised. This study assessed the efficacy of an advanced tertiary sewage treatment plant (STP) to remove EDCs during normal and peak flow events of sewage influent using trace chemical analysis of selected EDCs and four estrogenic in vitro bioassays. During the summer holiday season, influent volume increased by 68%, nutrient concentrations by at least 26% and hydraulic retention time was reduced by 40% compared with base flow conditions. Despite these pressures on the treatment system the concentrations and mass loading of estrone, 17β-estradiol, estriol, Bisphenol A, 4-t-octylphenol and technical nonylphenol were not significantly higher (p > 0.05) during the peak flow conditions compared with base flow conditions. Chemical analysis and in vitro bioassays showed that the efficacy of the STP in removing EDCs was not affected by the different loadings between baseline and peak flow regimes. This study demonstrates that large flow variations within the design capacity of advanced multi-stage STPs should not reduce the removal efficacy of EDCs.
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