Spatial distribution of pharmaceuticals in conventional wastewater treatment plant with Sludge Treatment Reed Beds technology

Katarzyna Kołecka , Magdalena Gajewska , Piotr Stepnowski , Magda Caban


Pharmaceutical residues are an emerging environmental problem. It is strongly confirmed that pharmaceuticals are present in soils and environmental waters (surface, marine and even groundwater), and that wastewater treatment plant (WWTP) effluents are the main source of pharmaceuticals in the watershed. The aim of this study was to recognize the spatial distribution and seasonal changes of selected pharmaceuticals in conventional WWTP with Sludge Treatment Reed Beds (STRBs) technology used for dewatering and stabilization of sewage sludge, because these systems have never been studied in terms of pharmaceuticals distribution or removal potential. The research was conducted in conventional WWTP in Gniewino, where raw wastewater was treated using mechanical, biological and chemical removal of the organic matter and nutrients, and sewage sludge was treated with STRB. Determinations of pharmaceuticals (non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs - ibuprofen, paracetamol, flurbiprofen, naproxen, diclofenac and its metabolites) and basic parameters were carried out in samples of influent and effluent from WWTP and in the liquid phase of surplus activated sludge (SAS) as well as reject water from STRB. The potential of removal varied among target pharmaceuticals. Ibuprofen and naproxen were completely removed by the standard applied technology of the Gniewino WWTP. Diclofenac and its metabolites were the chemicals with the lowest removal potential in wastewater and the highest detection frequency. These pharmaceuticals were also detected in the liquid phase of SAS as well as in reject water. However, removal potential when using STRB was higher than 94% (mostly higher than 99%), independent of the season. Indeed, the STRB technology is not only efficient in sludge dewatering and nutrient removal (primary purpose), but also elimination of polar pollutants. Nevertheless, removal in STRB did not mean that pharmaceuticals were totally eliminated because these compounds could be “trapped and stored” in beds (by the process of sorption) or transformed into other products. This study is a starting point for further exploration of STRB technology for elimination of emerging pollutants.
Author Katarzyna Kołecka - [Politechnika Gdanska]
Katarzyna Kołecka,,
- Politechnika Gdanska
, Magdalena Gajewska - [Politechnika Gdanska]
Magdalena Gajewska,,
- Politechnika Gdanska
, Piotr Stepnowski (FCh / DEA / LChER)
Piotr Stepnowski,,
- Laboratory of Chemical Environmental Risks
, Magda Caban (FCh / DEA / PAiMŚ)
Magda Caban,,
- Pracownia Analityki i Monitoringu Środowiska
Journal seriesScience of the Total Environment, ISSN 0048-9697, (A 40 pkt)
Issue year2019
Publication size in sheets0.5
Keywords in Englishconventional wastewater treatment plant, sewage sludge processing, Sludge Treatment Reed Beds, pharmaceutical residues, non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs
Languageen angielski
Score (nominal)40
ScoreMinisterial score = 40.0, 05-11-2018, ArticleFromJournal
Ministerial score (2013-2016) = 40.0, 05-11-2018, ArticleFromJournal
Publication indicators Scopus Citations = 0; WoS Impact Factor: 2016 = 4.9 (2) - 2016=5.102 (5)
Citation count*
Share Share

Get link to the record

* presented citation count is obtained through Internet information analysis and it is close to the number calculated by the Publish or Perish system.