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Assessment of full-scale biological nutrient removal systems upgraded with physico-chemical processes for the removal of emerging pollutants present in wastewaters from Mexico

Estrada-Arriaga, Edson Baltazar, Cortés-Muñoz, Juana Enriqueta, González-Herrera, Arturo, Calderón-Mólgora, César Guillermo, de Lourdes Rivera-Huerta, Ma., Ramírez-Camperos, Esperanza, Montellano-Palacios, Leticia, Gelover-Santiago, Silvia Lucila, Pérez-Castrejón, Sara, Cardoso-Vigueros, Lina, Martín-Domínguez, Alejandra, García-Sánchez, Liliana
The Science of the total environment 2016 v.571 pp. 1172-1182
analgesics, antihypertensive agents, antiseptics, chemical precipitation, chlorine dioxide, clarithromycin, coagulation, diazepam, disinfection, dry season, effluents, hormones, hydrochlorothiazide, lamps, municipal wastewater, norfloxacin, oxidation, personal care products, propranolol, sulfamethoxazole, tanks, ultraviolet radiation, wastewater treatment, Mexico
Two full-scale biological nutrient removal systems upgraded with three physico-chemical processes (coagulation, chemical precipitation, and neutral Fenton) were evaluated in order to determine the removal of emerging pollutants (EPs) present in municipal wastewater from Mexico. Between 41 and 55 EPs were detected in the influents of two wastewater treatment plants (WWTPs), including personal care products (PPCPs), antibiotics, analgesics, antiepileptics, antilipidemics, antihypertensives, antiseptics, stimulants, and hormones. Emerging pollutants were detected at concentrations ranging from 0.69ng/L to 94,600ng/L. High concentrations of emerging pollutants were found during dry season. WWTP 1, integrated by oxidation ditches and UV light lamps, showed removal efficiencies of EPs between 20% and 22%. On the other hand, WWTP 2 consisted of anaerobic/anoxic/aerobic tanks coupled with two disinfection processes; chlorine dioxide and UV light lamps, for which the removal of EPs was significant (up to 80%). The concentrations of emerging pollutants in WWTP 1 effluent was found within a range<limit of quantification (LOQ) to 3770ng/L. For WWTP 2, the concentrations of the emerging pollutants in the effluent were below 210ng/L. WWTP 2 showed high emerging pollutant removals, compared to those of WWTP 1, due to a greater activity of the simultaneous nitrification-denitrification processes, hydraulic retention time, and solids retention time. The compounds that were more persistent with removals below 50% in both effluents were: carbamazepine, dehydronifedipine, meprobamate, sertraline, propranolol, propoxyphene, norverapamil, diazepam, alprazolam, sulfamethoxazole, metoprolol, ofloxacin, norfloxacin, fluoxetine, erythromycin-H2O, diphenhydramine, dehydronifedipine, clarithromycin, hydrochlorothiazide, and albuterol. The application of neutral Fenton reaction as post-treatment for the two effluents from the WWTPs is promising for the removal of emerging pollutants (up to 100%) and for assuring high quality of treated water.