Radionuclides in wastewater treatment plants: monitoring of Sicilian plants

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Three Sicilian wastewater treatment plants were monitored to assess the occurrence and the behaviour of radionuclides. Two sampling campaigns (screening and long-term) were carried out during which liquid and solid samples have been analysed. It was found that 131I mostly occurred in the samples analysed during the screening campaign (43% of the analysed samples contained 131I). High 131I specific activity was found in the mixed liquor, recycled sludge and dehydrated sludge samples. This finding was mainly due to the tendency of 131I to be associated with solid particles. During the long-term sampling campaign an influence of the sludge retention time (SRT) on the 131I behaviour was found. Increasing the SRT and consequently decreasing the fraction of active organic biomass inside the system, the specific activity of 131I decreases.

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