Occurrence and fate of endogenous steroid hormones, alkylphenol ethoxylates, bisphenol A and phthalates in municipal sewage treatment systems

Qian WU, Chung Wah James LAM, Karen Y. KWOK, Mirabelle M. P. TSUI, Paul Kwan Sing LAM

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20 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Steroid hormones, alkylphenol ethoxylates (APEOs) and phthalic acid esters (PAEs) are emerging endocrine disrupting chemicals (EDCs) that can interfere with the endocrine function in organisms at low concentrations. The occurrence, distribution behavior, removal rate and the fate of 31 target EDCs in sewage treatment plants, which consist of various treatment facilities and receiving water in Hong Kong, were investigated. Estrone, nonylphenol-di-ethoxylate and diethyl phthalate were found to be dominant in each group of influent samples with concentrations ranging from 11–33, 747–3945 and 445–4635 ng/L, respectively. Conversely, progesterone, nonylphenol-mono-ethoxylate and bis (2-ethylhexyl) phthalate were the most abundant in dewatered sludge, with concentrations ranging from 0.9–237, 75–19,743 and 4310–37,016 ng/g (dry weight). The removal rates of primary sedimentation and disinfection approaches were lower than 30% for most of the chemicals, while those of activated sludge and reverse osmosis were greater than 80% for more than two-thirds of the compounds, noticeably decreasing the estrogenic risk of sewage discharged into the environment. Steroid hormones were removed via biological degradation, while some APEOs and PAEs adsorbed to the sludge. Victoria Harbor poses a low to medium estrogenic risk mainly contributed by estrone and estradiol and deserves attention. Copyright © 2017 The Research Center for Eco-Environmental Sciences, Chinese Academy of Sciences.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)49-58
JournalJournal of Environmental Sciences
Volume61
Early online dateMar 2017
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2017

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Steroid hormones
Endocrine Disruptors
Sewage treatment
Estrone
phthalate
steroid
hormone
Esters
Diethylhexyl Phthalate
Sewage treatment plants
ester
Disinfection
Reverse osmosis
Sewage
Ports and harbors
sludge
Sedimentation
Progesterone
Estradiol
Acids

Citation

Wu, Q., Lam, J. C. W., Kwok, K. Y., Tsui, M. M. P., & Lam, P. K. S. (2017). Occurrence and fate of endogenous steroid hormones, alkylphenol ethoxylates, bisphenol A and phthalates in municipal sewage treatment systems. Journal of Environmental Sciences, 61, 49-58. doi: 10.1016/j.jes.2017.02.021

Keywords

  • Endocrine disruptor
  • Steroid hormone
  • Alkylphenol ethoxylate
  • Phthalic acid ester
  • Risk assessment