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Characterization, treatment and releases of PBDEs and PAHs in a typical municipal sewage treatment plant situated beside an urban river, East China

Wang, Xiaowei, Xi, Beidou, Huo, Shouliang, Sun, Wenjun, Pan, Hongwei, Zhang, Jingtian, Ren, Yuqing, Liu, Hongliang
Journal of Environmental Sciences 2013 v.25 pp. 1281-1290
benzo(a)pyrene, biomass, biphenyl, coal, combustion, naphthalene, petroleum, polybrominated diphenyl ethers, polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, risk, river water, rivers, sewage treatment, wastewater, wastewater treatment, China
Characterization, treatment and releases of eight polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDEs) congeners and sixteen polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) in wastewater were evaluated along the treatment processes of a typical secondary treatment municipal sewage treatment plant (STP) (in Hefei City) situated the beside Nanfei River, East China. The findings showed that the average concentrations of the total PBDEs in raw wastewater and treated effluent were 188.578 and 36.884 ng/L respectively. Brominated diphenyl ether (BDE) 209 congener, the predominant PBDE in the STP and Nanfei River, could be related to the discharge of car-industry-derived wastes. For PAHs, the average concentrations in raw wastewater and treated effluent were 5758.8 and 2240.4 ng/L respectively, with naphthalene, benzo[a]pyrene and indeno[1,2,3-c,d]pyrene being detected at the highest concentrations. PAHs mainly originate from the combustion of biomass/coal and petroleum. The STP reduced about 80% of the PBDEs and 61% of the PAHs, which were eliminated mainly by sedimentation processes. The removal rates of PBDEs/PAHs increased with the increase of their solid-water partitioning coefficients. Accordingly, the STP's effluent, containing some PBDE congeners (e.g., BDE 47, 99 and 209, etc.) and low-molecular-weight PAHs, could be an important contributor of these contaminants' input to Nanfei River. It resulted in a significant increase of PBDE/PAH concentrations and PAH toxicological risk in the river water downstream. About 4.040 kg/yr of PBDEs and 245.324 kg/yr of PAHs could be released into the Nanfei River. The current conventional wastewater treatment processes should be improved to remove the relatively low-molecular-weight PBDEs/PAHs more effectively.