Main content area

Long-chain perfluorinated chemicals in digested sewage sludges in Switzerland

Sun, Hongwen, Gerecke, Andreas C., Giger, Walter, Alder, Alfredo C.
Environmental pollution 2011 v.159 no.2 pp. 654-662
sewage, sulfonic acids, perfluorocarbons, Switzerland
This study focused on the occurrence of long-chain perfluorinated chemicals (PFCs) in anaerobically stabilized sewage sludges from 20 municipal WWTPs using current and historic samples to evaluate the levels of PFCs and to identify the relative importance of commercial and industrial sources. A quantitative analytical method was developed based on solvent extraction of the analytes and a LC-MS/MS system. For total perfluoralkyl carboxylates (PFCAs), the concentrations ranged from 14 to 50μg/kg dry matter. Concentrations of perfluorooctane sulfonic acid (PFOS) ranged from 15 to 600μg/kg dry matter. In three WWTPs, the PFOS levels were six to nine times higher than the average values measured in the other plants. These elevated PFOS concentrations did not correlate with higher levels of PFCAs, indicating specific additional local sources for PFOS at these WWTPs. Average concentrations in selected samples from the years 1993, 2002, and 2008 did not change significantly.