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Title: Influence of operating parameters on the biodegradation of steroid estrogens and nonylphenolic compounds during biological wastewater treatment processes
Authors: Chiu, TY
Boobis, AR
Scrimshaw, MD
Bagnall, JP
Soares, A
Pollard, S
Cartmell, E
Lester, JN
Keywords: Steroids;Estrogen;Alkylphenolic compounds;Sewage
Issue Date: 2009
Publisher: American Chemical Society
Citation: Environmental Science & Technology, 43(17), 6646 - 6654, 2009
Abstract: This study investigated operational factors influencing the removal of steroid estrogens and nonylphenolic compounds in two sewage treatment works, one a nitrifying/denitrifying activated sludge plant and the other a nitrifying/denitrifying activated sludge plant with phosphorus removal. Removal efficiencies of >90% for steroid estrogens and for longer chain nonylphenol ethoxylates (NP4−12EO) were observed at both works, which had equal sludge ages of 13 days. However, the biological activity in terms of milligrams of estrogen removed per day per tonne of biomass was found to be 50−60% more efficient in the nitrifying/denitrifying activated sludge works compared to the works which additionally incorporated phosphorus removal. A temperature reduction of 6 °C had no impact on the removal of free estrogens, but removal of the conjugated estrone-3-sulfate was reduced by 20%. The apparent biomass sorption (LogKp) values were greater in the nitrifying/denitrifying works than those in the nitrifying/denitrifying works with phosphorus removal for both steroid estrogens and nonylphenolic compounds possibly indicating a different cell surface structure and therefore microbial population. The difference in biological activity (mg tonne−1 d−1) identified in this study, of up to seven times, suggests that there is the potential for enhancing the removal of estrogens and nonylphenols if more detailed knowledge of the factors responsible for these differences can be identified and maximized, thus potentially improving the quality of receiving waters.
Description: This document is the unedited author's version of a Submitted Work that was subsequently accepted for publication in Environmental Science & Technology, copyright © American Chemical Society after peer review. To access the final edited and published work see
ISSN: 0013-936X
Appears in Collections:Environment
Institute for the Environment

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