IWA Publishing

Priority organic pollutants in the urban water cycle (Toulouse, France)


Application of the European Water Framework Directive requires Member States to have better understanding of the quality of surface waters in order to improve knowledge of priority pollutants. Xenobiotics in urban receiving waters are an emerging concern. This study proposes a screening campaign of nine molecular species of xenobiotics in a separated sewer system. Five sites were investigated over one year in Toulouse (France) using quantitative monitoring. For each sample, polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, polychlorinated biphenyls, nonylphenols, diethelhexylphthalate, linear alkylbenzene sulphonates, methyl tert-butylether, total hydrocarbons, estradiol and ethinylestradiol were analysed. Ground, rain and roof collected water concentrations are similar to treated wastewater levels. Run-off water was the most polluted of the five types investigated, discharged into the aquatic environment. The wastewater treatment plant reduced xenobiotic concentrations by 66% before discharge into the environment. Regarding environmental quality standards, observed concentrations in waters were in compliance with standards. The results show that xenobiotic concentrations are variable over time and space in all urban water compartments.

Keywords: quantification, pollution, screening, stormwater, wastewater, xenobiotics

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