Improved removal of estrogenic and pharmaceutical compounds in sewage effluent by full scale granular activated carbon: Impact on receiving river water

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Journal Article
Journal of Hazardous Materials, 2011, 185 (2-3), pp. 1005 - 1011
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Sewage effluents are widely recognised as the main source of emerging contaminants, such as endocrine disrupting chemicals (EDCs) and pharmaceuticals in surface waters. A full-scale granular activated carbon (GAC) plant has been installed as an advanced technology for the removal of these contaminants, in a major sewage treatment works (STW) in South-West England as part of the UK National Demonstration Programme for EDCs. This study presented for the first time, an assessment of the impact of a recently commissioned, post-tertiary GAC plant in the removal of emerging contaminants in a working STW. Through regular sampling followed by solid-phase extraction and analysis by liquid chromatography-tandem mass spectrometry (LC-MS/MS), a significant reduction in the concentrations of steroidal estrogens was observed (>43-64%). In addition, significant reductions were observed for many of the pharmaceutical compounds such as mebeverine (84-99%), although the reduction was less dramatic for some of the more widely used pharmaceuticals analysed, including carbamazepine and propranolol (17-23%). © 2010 Elsevier B.V.
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