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Chemical and Ecotoxicological Assessment of Selected Biologically Activated Sorbents for Treating Wastewater Polluted with Petroleum Products with Special Emphasis on Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbons
Umeå University, Faculty of Science and Technology, Chemistry.
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2008 (English)In: Water, Air, & Soil Pollution, ISSN 0049-6979 (Print) 1573-2932 (Online), Vol. 195, no 1-4, 243-56 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

A chemical and ecotoxicological assessment of treatment of wastewater that had been polluted with petroleum products using only Activated Sludge (AS) and four biologically activated sorbents (BASs), consisting of activated sludge plus: coal-based activated carbon (-C1), coconut shell-based activated carbon (-C2), zeolite (-Z), and anthracite (-A) were conducted. The efficiency and robustness of the four wastewater treatment systems were evaluated by calculating the reduced total petroleum hydrocarbon (TPH) and polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbon (PAH) contents and the acute ecotoxicity of the effluents. The chemical analysis showed that the combined treatment systems were very effective for reducing the total petroleum hydrocarbon and readily bioavailable PAH contents. The most efficient systems were the BAS-C1 and -C2, which removed 60–88% and 99.5–99.6% of TPH and PAH, respectively. The activated sludge-only treatment was the least effective for purifying the wastewater. Chemical oxygen demand was reduced by >90% by all carbon-based BASs (BAS-C1, BAS-C2 and BAS-A). Shifts in the relative composition of the individual PAHs were identified in samples taken before and after treatment. Algal and bacterial bioassays showed that the toxicities of effluents following treatment by all four systems (except AS for algae) were reduced by more than 80% and 90%, respectively. However, crustacean tests indicated that the carbon-based BASs reduced the toxicity [V tox(50)] only by 19–67%. Our results indicated that the combination of sorption and biodegradation processes have great potential in the treatment of petroleum products polluted wastewater and is less sensitive for inhibitors of the biological process than treatments in which activated sludge alone is used. The assessment of chemical and ecotoxicological endpoints provided valuable information, but contrasting results for one of the assays indicates that further analysis on the capacity of the different treatment systems is warranted.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2008. Vol. 195, no 1-4, 243-56 p.
Keyword [en]
Biodegradation, Biologically activated sorbents (BASs), Ecotoxicity, Petroleum products, Polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs), Semipermeable membrane devices (SPMDs), Sorption, Wastewater treatment
URN: urn:nbn:se:umu:diva-10194DOI: doi:10.1007/s11270-008-9743-7OAI: diva2:149865
Available from: 2008-10-10 Created: 2008-10-10 Last updated: 2011-01-10Bibliographically approved
In thesis
1. Use and Development of Diffusive Samplers to Analyse the Fate of Polycyclic Aromatic Compounds, Polychlorinated Biphenyls and Pharmaceuticals in Wastewater Treatment Processes
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Use and Development of Diffusive Samplers to Analyse the Fate of Polycyclic Aromatic Compounds, Polychlorinated Biphenyls and Pharmaceuticals in Wastewater Treatment Processes
2008 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

The efficiency of wastewater treatment systems is commonly measured by the reductions of parameters such as biological oxygen demand (BOD), chemical oxygen demand (COD) and total suspended solids (TSS) and/or reductions in levels of selected macro compounds (e.g. long-chained hydrocarbons and inorganic compounds). Less attention has generally been paid to micropollutants with high potential toxic effects, such as polycyclic aromatic compounds (PACs), including unsubstituted and alkylated polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) and dibenzothiophenes, polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), human pharmaceuticals and by-products formed during the treatment process. These organic micropollutants occur in wastewaters at trace and ultra-trace levels, therefore their detection requires advanced, costly analyses and large sample volumes. Furthermore, concentrations of micropollutants can fluctuate widely both diurnally and between days. Thus, in order to understand the fate of micropollutants in wastewaters there is a need to develop sampling techniques that allow representative samples to be readily collected.

In the work underlying this thesis two types of diffusive passive samplers, semipermeable membrane devices (SPMDs) and polar organic chemical integrative samplers (POCISs), were used to monitor non-polar and polar organic micropollutants in wastewaters subjected to various treatment processes. The pollutants sequestered in these samplers represent micropollutants in the dissolved phase that are available for aquatic organisms. Further, since they collect pollutants in an integrative manner, i.e. they sample continuously during the selected exposure time (usually approx. one to ca. three weeks), the results provide time-weighted average (TWA) concentrations. In addition, the effects of various environmental factors on the uptake of analyzed micropollutants in POCISs and SPMDs were investigated using laboratory calibration and in situ calibration with performance reference compounds (PRCs).

The results confirm that SPMDs are good sampling tools for investigating the efficacy of wastewater treatment processes for removing non-polar PACs and PCBs, and the effects of varying the process settings. In addition, analyses of process streams in municipal sewage treatment plants demonstrated that conventional sewage treatment processes are not optimized for removing dissolved four-ringed PAHs, some of the five-ringed PAHs, and tri- to hexa-chlorinated biphenyls. The removal of bioavailable PACs was enhanced by adding sorbents with high sorption capacities to the sludge used in the activated sludge treatment step, and a biologically activated carbon system was designed that robustly removed bioavailable PACs, with removal efficiencies of 96.9-99.7 percent across the tested ranges of five varied process parameters.

In situ SPMD calibration data acquired show that uptake of PACs, described by SPMD sampling rates (Rs), were four to eight times higher than published laboratory calibrated Rs values, mainly due to strong (bio)fouling and turbulence effects. In addition, the laboratory calibration study demonstrated that temperature affects the POCIS uptake of pharmaceuticals. The uptake of four pharmaceuticals was higher, by 10-56 percent, at 18 °C compared to 5 °C. For two of the pharmaceuticals our data indicate that the uptake was lower by 18-25 percent at 18 °C. Our results also indicate that uptake of the studied pharmaceuticals was in the linear phase throughout the 35 day exposure period at both temperatures. Finally, calibration studies enabled aqueous concentrations of micropollutants to be more accurately estimated from amounts collected in the passive samplers.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Umeå: Kemi, 2008. 49 p.
bioavailable, biologically activated carbon, PRCs, sampling rate, SPMD, sorption, wastewater treatment, diffusive passive samplers, human pharmaceuticals, municipal sewage treatment plant, organic micropollutants, polycyclic aromatic compounds, PAHs, PCBs, POCIS
National Category
Environmental Sciences
urn:nbn:se:umu:diva-1912 (URN)978-91-7264-688-9 (ISBN)
Public defence
2008-12-05, KB3A9, KBC, Umeå, 10:00 (English)
Available from: 2008-11-10 Created: 2008-11-10 Last updated: 2009-06-18Bibliographically approved

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