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Suitability of pharmaceuticals and personal care products (PPCPs) and artificial sweeteners (ASs) as wastewater indicators in the Pearl River Delta, South China
- Yang, Yuan-Yuan, Liu, Wang-Rong, Liu, You-Sheng, Zhao, Jian-Liang, Zhang, Qian-Qian, Zhang, Min, Zhang, Jin-Na, Jiang, Yu-Xia, Zhang, Li-Juan, Ying, Guang-Guo
- The Science of the total environment 2017
- acetaminophen, caffeine, fluconazole, hydrophilicity, municipal wastewater, personal care products, river deltas, rivers, saccharin, salicylic acid, screening, sucralose, surface water, wastewater treatment, China
- Wastewater indicator is a useful tool for evaluating the wastewater impact on natural water, but there is little information about the suitability of wastewater indicators for different regions. This study aimed to select suitable wastewater indicators in the Pearl River Delta region, south China by screening a range of wastewater related organic compounds. The screening campaign was carried out by investigating the occurrence and removal efficiencies of 93 pharmaceuticals and personal care products (PPCPs) and 5 artificial sweeteners (ASs) in nine wastewater treatment plants (WWTPs) located in the region, and the occurrence of these target compounds in the contaminated and clean surface water of the Pearl River. An ideal wastewater indicator should be hydrophilic, source-specific for domestic wastewater, ubiquitous in contaminated surface water with detection frequency (DF) >80% and absent in background water samples. For liable indicators, high removal rates (>90%) should be observed in WWTPs and they should be detected in all the influent samples at concentrations fifty times higher than their limits of quantification. For conservative indicators, low removal rates (<50%) should be observed in WWTPs and they should be detected in all the effluent samples at concentrations fifty times higher than their limits of quantification. Based on the above criteria, sucralose and fluconazole were selected as conservative indicators in the region, while cyclamate, saccharin, methyl paraben, ethyl paraben, propyl paraben, paracetamol, salicylic acid and caffeine were selected as liable indicators.