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Per capita loads of organic UV filters in Australian wastewater influent

O'Malley, Elissa, O'Brien, Jake W., Tscharke, Ben, Thomas, Kevin V., Mueller, Jochen F.
The Science of the total environment 2019 v.662 pp. 134-140
UV filters, benzimidazole, benzophenones, camphor, latitude, sulfonic acid, wastewater, wastewater treatment, watersheds, Australia
Per capita loads of six UV filters were estimated in wastewater influent samples from 36 wastewater treatment plants in Australia collected over a weekend period during the 2016 Australian Census. Of the analysed samples, 99% contained at least one of the target compounds. Phenyl benzimidazole sulfonic acid (PBSA) was the most prevalent (99%), followed by benzophenone 4 (BP4) (97%), benzophenone 3 (BP3) (87%), benzophenone 1 (BP1) (84%), 4-methylbenzylidene camphor (4-MBC) (22%) and isoamyl 4-methoxycinnamate (IMC) (1.5%). The highest concentrations were 3780 and 5070 ng L−1 for PBSA and BP4, respectively. Total per capita UV filter loads in influent across all plants were calculated using population data from the Australian Census and ranged from 0.21 to 3.4 mg day−1 person−1. Notably, a relationship was found between latitude and total per capita daily mass load of UV filters with an increase in mass load from southern to northern catchments. Compared to international studies, mass loads were generally similar with higher loads of BP4 found in Australia. This study provides insight into the occurrence of UV filters in influent wastewater from across Australia and provides the first comprehensive nationwide baseline of UV filter loads.