Because microalgae are known for quick biomass growth and nutrient uptake, there has been much interest in their use in research on wastewater treatment methods. While many studies have concentrated on the algal treatment of wastewaters with low to medium ammonium concentrations, there are several liquid waste streams with high ammonium concentrations that microalgae could potentially treat. The aim of this paper was to test ammonium tolerance of the indigenous algae community of Lake Mälaren and to use this mixed consortia of algae to remove nutrients from biogas digestate. Algae from Lake Mälaren were cultivated in Jaworski's Medium containing a range of ammonium concentrations and the resulting algal growth was determined. The algae were able to grow at NH4-N concentrations of up to 200 mg L(-1) after which there was significant inhibition. To test the effectiveness of the lake water algae on the treatment of biogas digestate, different pre-cultivation set-ups and biogas digestate concentrations were tested. It was determined that mixing pre-cultivated suspension algae with 25% of biogas digestate by volume, resulting in an ammonium concentration of around 300 mg L(-1), produced the highest algal growth. The algae were effective in removing 72.8±2.2% of NH4-N and 41.4±41.4% of PO4-P.
Source-separated blackwater from low-flush toilets contains plant-available nutrients and can be used as a fertilizer. The aim of the study was to evaluate the impact on pathogen inactivation when treating blackwater with urea and/or lime. Blackwater was spiked with Salmonella typhimurium, Escherichia coli O157, Enterococcus faecalis, and Ascaris suum eggs, and treated with urea and/or lime in concentrations up to 0.1% w/w. The bottles were kept in a storage facility (manure slurry tank) for 102 days while monitoring the pathogen concentrations. The treatment time needed to meet the requirement for Salmonella and E. coli reduction could be reduced at least six-fold. The enterococci were more persistent, and only the highest treatment doses had a significantly higher inactivation than the controls. The Ascaris egg viability was only reduced by around 50%, so higher urea/lime doses and/or longer treatment times are required to fulfill the treatment requirements of 3 log10 reductions of parasite eggs.
The methane potential and biodegradability of different ratios of acetate and lignin-rich effluents from a neutral sulfite semi-chemical (NSSC) pulp mill were investigated. Results showed ultimate methane yields up to 333±5mLCH4/gCOD when only acetate-rich substrate was added and subsequently lower methane potentials of 192±4mLCH4/gCOD when the lignin fraction was increased. The presence of lignin showed a linear decay in methane production, resulting in a 41% decrease in methane when the lignin-rich feed had a 30% increase. A negative linear correlation between lignin content and biodegradability was also observed. Furthermore, the effect of hydrotalcite (HT) addition was evaluated and showed increase in methane potential of up to 8%, a faster production rate and higher soluble lignin removal (7-12% higher). Chemical oxygen demand (COD) removal efficiencies between 64 and 83% were obtained for all samples.
Wastewater-based epidemiology is an efficient way to assess illicit drug use, complementing currently used methods retrieved from different data sources. The aim of this study is to compare stimulant drug use in five Nordic capital cities that include for the first time wastewater samples from Torshavn in the Faroe Islands. Currently there are no published reports that compare stimulant drug use in these Nordic capitals. All wastewater samples were analyzed using solid phase extraction and ultra-high performance liquid chromatography coupled to tandem mass spectrometry. The results were compared with data published by the European Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Addiction based on illicit drugs in wastewater from over 50 European cities. Confirming previous reports, the results showed high amphetamine loads compared with other European countries. Very little apparent abuse of stimulant drugs was detected in Torshavn. Methamphetamine loads were the highest from Helsinki of the Nordic countries, indicating substantial fluctuations in the availability of the drug compared with previous studies. Methamphetamine loads from Oslo confirmed that the use continues to be high. Estimated cocaine use was found to be in the lower range compared with other cities in the southern and western part of Europe. Ecstasy and cocaine showed clear variations between weekdays and weekends, indicating recreational use. This study further demonstrates geographical trends in the stimulant drug market in five Nordic capitals, which enables a better comparison with other areas of the continent.
The solar UV/chlorine process has emerged as a novel advanced oxidation process for industrial and municipal wastewaters. Currently, its practical application to oil sands process-affected water (OSPW) remediation has been studied to treat fresh OSPW retained in large tailings ponds, which can cause significant adverse environmental impacts on ground and surface waters in Northern Alberta, Canada. Degradation of naphthenic acids (NAs) and fluorophore organic compounds in OSPW was investigated. In a laboratory-scale UV/chlorine treatment, the NAs degradation was clearly structure-dependent and hydroxyl radical-based. In terms of the NAs degradation rate, the raw OSPW (pH ~ 8.3) rates were higher than those at an alkaline condition (pH = 10). Under actual sunlight, direct solar photolysis partially degraded fluorophore organic compounds, as indicated by the qualitative synchronous fluorescence spectra (SFS) of the OSPW, but did not impact NAs degradation. The solar/chlorine process effectively removed NAs (75-84% removal) and fluorophore organic compounds in OSPW in the presence of 200 or 300 mg L(-1) OCl(-). The acute toxicity of OSPW toward Vibrio fischeri was reduced after the solar/chlorine treatment. However, the OSPW toxicity toward goldfish primary kidney macrophages after solar/chlorine treatment showed no obvious toxicity reduction versus that of untreated OSPW, which warrants further study for process optimization.
Wastewater treatment plants (WWTP) have been suggested to be one of the major pathways of perfluoroalkyl acids (PFAAs) from the technosphere to the aquatic environment. The origin of PFAAs in WWTP influents is either from current primary emissions or a result of recirculation of PFAAs that have been residing and transported in the environment for several years or decades. Environmental recirculation can then occur when PFAAs from the environment enter the wastewater stream in, e.g., tap water. In this study 13 PFAAs and perfluorooctane sulfonamide were analyzed in tap water as well as WWTP influent, effluent and sludge from three Swedish cities: Bromma (in the metropolitan area of Stockholm), Bollebygd and Umeå. A mass balance of the WWTPs was assembled for each PFAA. Positive mass balances were observed for PFHxA and PFOA in all WWTPs, indicating the presence of precursor compounds in the technosphere. With regard to environmental recirculation, tap water was an important source of PFAAs to the Bromma WWTP influent, contributing >40% for each quantified sulfonic acid and up to 30% for the carboxylic acids. The PFAAs in tap water from Bollebygd and Umeå did not contribute significantly to the PFAA load in the WWTP influents. Our results show that in order to estimate current primary emissions from the technosphere, it may be necessary to correct the PFAA emission rates in WWTP effluents for PFAAs present in tap water, especially in the case of elevated levels in tap water.
Behaviour of nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs and eight of their metabolites during wastewater treatment studied by hollow fibre liquid phase microextraction and liquid chromatography mass spectrometry.
In this work hollow fibre liquid phase microextraction combined with liquid chromatography mass spectrometry was applied for the determination of the nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) ketoprofen, naproxen, diclofenac and ibuprofen as well as eight of their known human metabolites in wastewater samples. Extraction time and addition of tri-n-octylphosphine oxide (TOPO) to the liquid membrane were evaluated resulting in a method with an optimal extraction time of 5h and 5% (w/V) TOPO addition to the membrane liquid (di-n-hexyl ether). With the optimized method, enrichment factors ranged between 778 and 4830. The method was applied for analysis of samples collected from Källby wastewater treatment plant in the city of Lund, Sweden. Samples were collected from the influent, water entering as well as exiting the conventional activated sludge treatment and the effluent to study the behaviour of these compounds during the treatment process. All twelve substances were found in the influent and for all four drugs, higher concentrations were detected of the metabolites than the parent compounds. Highest concentrations were detected of o-desmethylnaproxen, 2-hydroxyibuprofen and carboxyibuprofen (average influent concentrations of 45, 35 and 63 µg/L respectively). The study showed only partial removal during the primary treatment whereas both parent compounds and metabolites were efficiently removed during the activated sludge process. In the effluent all analytes were detected in concentrations below 1 µg/L thus showing that either the investigated metabolites do not belong to the NSAID transformation products formed during the activated sludge treatment or they are also quickly further transformed within the treatment.
This study describes a novel wastewater treatment technology suitable for small remote northern communities. The technology is based on an enhanced biodegradation of organic carbon through a combination of anaerobic methanogenic and microbial electrochemical (bioelectrochemical) degradation processes leading to biomethane production. The microbial electrochemical degradation is achieved in a membraneless flow-through bioanode-biocathode setup operating at an applied voltage below the water electrolysis threshold. Laboratory wastewater treatment tests conducted through a broad range of mesophilic and psychrophilic temperatures (5-23 °C) using synthetic wastewater showed a biochemical oxygen demand (BOD5) removal efficiency of 90-97% and an effluent BOD5 concentration as low as 7 mg L-1. An electricity consumption of 0.6 kWh kg-1 of chemical oxygen demand (COD) removed was observed. Low energy consumption coupled with enhanced methane production led to a net positive energy balance in the bioelectrochemical treatment system.
Per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFASs) are ubiquitous in sludge and water from waste water treatment plants, as a result of their incorporation in everyday products and industrial processes. In this study, we measured several classes of persistent PFASs, precursors, transformation intermediates, and newly identified PFASs in influent and effluent sewage water and sludge from three municipal waste water treatment plants in Sweden, sampled in 2015. For sludge, samples from 2012 and 2014 were analyzed as well. Levels of precursors in sludge exceeded those of perfluoroalkyl acids and sulfonic acids (PFCAs and PFSAs), in 2015 the sum of polyfluoroalkyl phosphoric acid esters (PAPs) were 15-20ng/g dry weight, the sum of fluorotelomer sulfonic acids (FTSAs) was 0.8-1.3ng/g, and the sum of perfluorooctane sulfonamides and ethanols ranged from non-detected to 3.2ng/g. Persistent PFSAs and PFCAs were detected at 1.9-3.9ng/g and 2.4-7.3ng/g dry weight, respectively. The influence of precursor compounds was further demonstrated by an observed substantial increase for a majority of the persistent PFCAs and PFSAs in water after waste water treatment. Perfluorohexanoic acid (PFHxA), perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA), perfluorohexane sulfonic acid (PFHxS), and perfluorooctane sulfonic acid (PFOS) had a net mass increase in all WWTPs, with mean values of 83%, 28%, 37% and 58%, respectively. The load of precursors and intermediates in influent water and sludge combined with net mass increase support the hypothesis that degradation of precursor compounds is a significant contributor to PFAS contamination in the environment.
Dioxins and dioxin-like (DL) compounds are some of the most toxic chemicals being highly persistent in the environment. The toxicological effects of dioxins are mediated via the aryl hydrocarbon receptor (AhR). Compounds of diverse structure and lipophility can bind and activate AhR. The AhR transactivation bioassay is utilized in an array of projects to study the AhR-mediated activities of individual chemicals and mixtures and for epidemiological purposes. This review summarizes a series of studies regarding the DL-activity of single compounds and complex compound mixtures in the environment and humans. We found that some pesticides, plasticizers and phytoestrogens can activate the AhR, and the combined effect of compounds with no or weak AhR potency cannot be ignored. The significant DL-activity in the wastewater effluent indicates the treatment is not sufficient to prevent contamination of surface waters with dioxins. Our results from human studies suggest that the serum DL-activity reflect the complex mixture of persistent organic pollutants (POPs). Greenlandic Inuit had lower serum DL-activity level compared to Europeans, probably due to long distance from the dioxin sources and UV degradation of the high potent dioxin and/or the inhibitory effect of the high level of non-DL POPs. Selective bioaccumulation of PCBs in the food chain may contribute to the negative correlation between serum POPs and DL-activity observed in Greenlandic Inuit. Hence the AhR transactivation bioassay provides a cost-effective and integrated screening tool for measurement of the DL-activity in human, environmental and commercial samples.