Mass flows of 13 pharmaceutical active ingredients (APIs) found in drinking water were studied in the water cycle of Stockholm. Data were collected by analyzing samples of surface water, raw water and drinking water as well as influents, effluents and sludges from waste water treatment plants (WWTPs) in Stockholm area. A mass balance was performed, based on sold amounts of pharmaceuticals and the measured concentrations in water and sludge. The selected APIs were all present in WWTP effluents and the removal rates for many of them were poor. Mass balance calculations showed that the three studied WWTPs in Stockholm release considerable amounts of the selected APIs into the Baltic Sea while the portions ending up in WWTP sludge were significantly lower. The levels of APIs found in drinking water are low at present, but may increase in the future unless the releases from WWTPs in the catchment of Lake Mälaren are mitigated.
Keywords: drinking water, fluxes, pharmaceuticals, receiving waters, surface water, waste water