Mass balance analysis of triclosan, diethyltoluamide, crotamiton and carbamazepine in sewage treatment plants

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Courtesy of IWA Publishing

The behavior of antibacterial triclosan, insect-repellent diethyltoluamide (DEET), anticonvulsant carbamazepine, and antipruritic crotamiton was investigated at two sewage treatment plants (STPs) to clarify their complete mass balance. Twenty-four-hour flow-proportional composite samples were collected from the influent and effluent of primary and final sedimentation tanks, a biofiltration tank and disinfection tanks. Sludge samples (i.e., activated and excess sludge) and samples of the return flow from the sludge treatment process were collected in the same manner. The analytes in both the dissolved and particulate phases were individually determined by a gas chromatograph equipped with mass spectrometer. Triclosan was dominantly detected in the particulate phase especially in the early stage of treatment (up to 83%) and was efficiently removed (over 90%) in STPs, mainly by sorption to sewage sludge. Limited removal was observed for DEET (55±24%), while no significant removal was demonstrated for crotamiton or carbamazepine. The solid-water distribution coefficients (Kd, n=4) for triclosan (log Kd: 3.7–5.1), DEET (1.3–1.9) and crotamiton (1.1–1.6) in the sludge samples are also determined in this study. These findings indicate the limitations of current sewage treatment techniques for the removal of these water-soluble drugs (i.e. DEET, carbamazepine, and crotamiton).

Keywords: mass balance, personal care products, pharmaceutical, sludge, solid-water distribution coefficients (Kd)

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