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Endocrine disrupting compounds (EDC) in municipal wastewater treatment: a need for mass balance


, : Endocrine disrupting compounds (EDC) in municipal wastewater treatment: a need for mass balance. Environmental Technology 25(6): 635-645

Increasing attention has been focused on endocrine disrupting compounds (EDCs) as pollutants in municipal waste water. Recent studies have shown that these compounds can have a negative impact on the environment, and that in many cases they are not efficiently removed in waste water treatment plants (WWTPs). Studies have also revealed that their destruction and transport out into the environment depend on the design and operational characteristics of these treatment systems and on the properties of the chemicals themselves. This paper reviews the current knowledge on EDCs, natural and synthetic hormones including estrone (E1), 17 beta -estradiol (E2), and 17 alpha -ethinylestradiol (EE2) in WWTP. Several key data gaps are addressed when assessing the removal of EDCs in WWTPs. First, analytical methods used by most researchers do not account for the inactive or conjugated form of the compounds, yet they can become deconjugated to active forms during treatment, leading to an additional source of contaminant load. Next, insufficient measurements are made at various stages within the WWTP preventing adequate analyses on how each unit process contributes to degradation. Currently, there is no standardized procedure for assessing degradation of EDCs in WWTPs, and it is often difficult to compare published data generated by individual test protocols. This paper identifies streams that should be sampled in WWTPs and suggests a mass balance approach that takes into account all forms of the compound in both liquid and solid phases. Issues of potential concern in performing mass balances are discussed leading to a proposal of variables that should be analysed and included in published articles. The adoption of similar methods by researchers in future work will produce a better picture of the presence and fate of these compounds in the environment.

US$19.90

PMID: 15369283

DOI: 10.1080/09593330.2004.9619353


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