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Impact of ozonation on ecotoxicity and endocrine activity of tertiary treated wastewater effluent

Altmann, Dominik, Schaar, Heidemarie, Bartel, Cordula, Schorkopf, Dirk Louis P., Miller, Ingrid, Kreuzinger, Norbert, Möstl, Erich, Grillitsch, Britta
Water research 2012 v.46 no.11 pp. 3693-3702
Chlorophycota, Danio rerio, Oryzias latipes, adults, adverse effects, ecotoxicology, effluents, eggs, enzyme immunoassays, fish, ozonation, screening, steroid hormones, wastewater, wastewater treatment
Tertiary wastewater treatment plant effluent before and after ozonation (0.6–1.1gO₃/g DOC) was tested for aquatic ecotoxicity in a battery of standardised microbioassays with green algae, daphnids, and zebrafish eggs. In addition, unconjugated estrogen and 17β-hydroxyandrogen immunoreactive substances were quantified by means of enzyme immunoassays, and endocrine effects were analysed in a 21-day fish screening assay with adult male and female medaka (Oryzias latipes). Ozonation decreased estrogen-immunoreactivity by 97.7±1.2% and, to a lesser extent, androgen-immunoreactivity by 56.3±16.5%. None of the short-term exposure ecotoxicity tests revealed any adverse effects of the tertiary effluent, neither before nor after the ozonation step. Similarly in the fish screening assay, reproductive fitness parameters showed no effects attributed to micropollutants, and no detrimental effects of the effluents were observed. Based on the presented screening, ozonation effectively reduced steroid hormone levels in the wastewater treatment plant effluent without increasing the effluent's ecotoxicity.