Pharmaceutical residues and other emerging substances in the effluent of sewage treatment plants


Pharmaceutical residues and other emerging substances pass through modern sewage treatment plants (STPs) and end up in the receiving waters and sludge. In several studies, recipient concentrations have been detected with expected effects on aquatic organisms. Chemicals released via STPs may also enter the aquatic food-web and cause effects in higher organisms such as fish-eating birds or mammals including humans. Studies have also shown that antibiotics in the environment may contribute to the increase of antibiotic resistant genes in bacteria, which is a serious threat to our possibility to cure life-threatening diseases on the global scale. Current STP treatment technologies are usually not fit to remove microbial stable chemical pollutants and the evaluation of the removal efficiency of the STP systems applied today, is not complete. The evaluation of the removal efficiency of the substances in the STP systems is usually based on chemical analysis of the presence of certain substances in influent and effluent waters. However, there are difficulties associated with this approach, e.g. since some substances are metabolized into potentially more harmful substances which are not captured in the analysis unless they are actively sought for. Furthermore, some substances are formed in the STPs, resulting in higher levels in effluents than in influents. In addition, effluent concentrations may sometimes be lower than the analytical detection limits, yet still higher than or close to established risk concentrations emphasizing the need for developments of the analytical methods.

Medarbetare: Klara Westling, Christian Baresel

Nyckelord: pharmaceuticals residues, effluent assessment,

Typ: Populärvetenskaplig rapport

År: 2015

Rapportnummer: B2226

Författare: Christian Baresel, Anna Palm Cousins, Maritha Hörsing, Mats Ek, Heléne Ejhed, Ann-Sofie Allard, Jörgen Magnér, Klara Westling, Cajsa Wahlberg, Uwe Fortkamp, Sara Söhr

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