Main content area

Perfluorochemicals in wastewater treatment plants and sediments in Hong Kong

Ma, Ruowei, Shih, Kaimin
Environmental pollution 2010 v.158 no.5 pp. 1354-1362
alcohols, liquid chromatography, perfluorocarbons, sediments, sludge, sulfonamides, sulfonates, urban areas, wastewater treatment, China
The study reported in this paper examined the concentrations of nineteen perfluorochemicals (PFCs), including perfluoroalkyl sulfonates, carboxylates, and sulfonamides in samples collected from Hong Kong wastewater treatment plants (WWTPs) and sediments. The study was the first to use an external isolator column to assist in the quantification of PFCs in environmental samples without having to make internal modifications to a liquid chromatography system. Perfluorooctanesulfonate was found to be the dominant PFC pollutant in Hong Kong, and the WWTP sludge was the major sink of PFCs discharged from the urban areas. Compared to discharge influenced by industrial activities, much less perfluorooctanoate was found in waste streams. The significantly lower level of perfluorodecanesulfonate in WWTP sludge reflects the important influence of consumer products on PFC distribution. The dominance of even-chain length perfluoroalkyl carboxylates in all of the WWTP sludge samples investigated further suggests the strong aerobic degradation of fluorotelomer alcohols in WWTPs.