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Detailed mass flows and removal efficiencies for biocides and antibiotics in Swedish sewage treatment plants
Umeå University, Faculty of Science and Technology, Department of Chemistry.
Umeå University, Faculty of Science and Technology, Department of Chemistry.
Umeå University, Faculty of Science and Technology, Department of Chemistry.
2018 (English)In: Science of the Total Environment, ISSN 0048-9697, E-ISSN 1879-1026, Vol. 640, p. 327-336Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Antimicrobial compounds, such as biocides and antibiotics, are widely used in society with significant quantities of these chemicals ending up in sewage treatment plants (STPs). In this study, mass flows and removal efficiency in different treatment steps at three Swedish STPs were evaluated for eleven different biocides and antibiotics. Mass flows were calculated at eight different locations (incoming wastewater, water after the first sedimentation step, treated effluent, primary sludge, surplus sludge, digested sludge, dewatered digested sludge and reject water). Samples were collected for a total of nine days over three weeks. The STPs were able to remove 53-> 99% of the antimicrobial compounds and 0-64% were biodegraded on average in the three STPs. Quaternary ammonium compounds were removed from the wastewater N99%, partly through biodegradation, but 38-96% remained in the digested sludge. Chlorhexidine was not biodegraded but was efficiently removed from the wastewater to the sludge. The biological treatment step was the most important step for the degradation of the studied compounds, but also removed several compounds through the surplus sludge. Compounds that were inefficiently removed included benzotriazoles, trimethoprim and fluconazole. The study provides mass flows and removal efficiencies for several compounds that have been seldom studied. 

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Elsevier, 2018. Vol. 640, p. 327-336
Keywords [en]
Antimicrobial, Mass balance, Wastewater, Sludge, Wastewater treatment plant, Micropollutants
National Category
Environmental Sciences Water Treatment
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:umu:diva-150642DOI: 10.1016/j.scitotenv.2018.05.304ISI: 000438408800035PubMedID: 29860006Scopus ID: 2-s2.0-85047754418OAI: oai:DiVA.org:umu-150642DiVA, id: diva2:1242851
Available from: 2018-08-29 Created: 2018-08-29 Last updated: 2018-10-11Bibliographically approved
In thesis
1. Antimicrobials in sewage treatment plants: occurrence, fate and resistance
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Antimicrobials in sewage treatment plants: occurrence, fate and resistance
2018 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Alternative title[sv]
Antimikrobiella ämnen i avloppsreningsverk : förekomst, avskiljning och resistens
Abstract [en]

The World Health Organization (WHO) has identified antibiotic resistance as a major threat to human health. The environment has been suggested to play an important role in the emergence of antibiotic resistant bacteria. The external environment can act as a source of resistance genes that could potentially be transferred into human pathogens. It is also an important route for the dissemination of antibiotic resistance genes and bacteria. Sewage treatment plants (STPs) are among the most important routes by which antibiotics and antibiotic resistance genes enter the environment. It has been suggested that STPs are hotspots for the development of antibiotic resistance because they contain relatively high concentrations of antibiotics as well as both human and environmental bacteria. Further complicating matters, there is evidence that other substances with antimicrobial properties, such as biocides and metals, can cause antibiotic resistance due to co- and cross-resistance.

This thesis contributes new knowledge on the concentrations, mass flows, and removal efficiencies of antimicrobials in STPs and their connections to the emergence of antibiotic resistance. Paper I presents data on the levels of 40 different antimicrobials in the incoming wastewater, treated effluent, and digested sludge of eleven different STPs. Although not previously detected in STPs, chlorhexidine is shown to be ubiquitous in such plants. In Paper II, mass flows and removal efficiencies are calculated for eleven antimicrobials over various treatment steps in three STPs, showing that polar antimicrobials were inefficiently removed from the wastewater. In Paper III, the minimum selective concentration (MSC) for the antibiotic tetracycline was determined in a complex bacterial aquatic biofilm using both phenotypic and genotypic endpoints. It was found that 10 µg/L selected for phenotypic resistance, and 1 µg/L selected for certain resistance genes. Paper VI used metagenomics to determine whether there is selection for antibiotic-resistant bacteria in STPs and whether the extent of this selection can be correlated to the concentrations of antimicrobial compounds. No clear evidence for selection was identified. Paper V evaluates advanced wastewater treatment techniques for removing antimicrobial compounds using ozonation and granular activated carbon (GAC). The identity of the GAC material was found to strongly affect removal efficiency, and GAC was more efficient than ozonation for most compounds at the tested concentrations.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Umeå: Umeå universitet, 2018. p. 77
Keywords
biocides, antibiotics, sewage treatment plants, wastewater, sludge, ozonation, activated carbon, antibiotic resistance, antimicrobials, mass flows, LC-MS/MS, environment, advanced water treatment
National Category
Analytical Chemistry
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:umu:diva-152554 (URN)978-91-7601-938-2 (ISBN)
Public defence
2018-11-07, Aula Anatomica (Bio.A.206), Biologihuset, Umeå, 13:00 (English)
Opponent
Supervisors
Available from: 2018-10-17 Created: 2018-10-11 Last updated: 2018-10-15Bibliographically approved

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Östman, MarcusFick, JerkerTysklind, Mats

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