Sewage discharge could be a major source of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) in the coastal waters. Stonecutters Island and Shatin Sewage Treatment Works (SCISTW and STSTW) in Hong Kong, adopted chemically enhanced primary treatment and biological treatment, respectively. This study aimed at (1) determining the removal efficiencies of PAHs, (2) comparing the capabilities in removing PAHs, and (3) characterizing the profile of each individual PAHs, in the two sewage treatment plants (STPs). Quantification of 16 PAHs was conducted by a Gas Chromatography. The concentrations of total PAHs decreased gradually along the treatment processes (from 301 ± 255 and 307 ± 217 ng/L to 14.9 ± 12.1 and 63.3 ± 54.1 ng/L in STSTW and SCISTW, respectively). It was noted that STSTW was more capable in removing total PAHs than SCISTW with average total removal efficiency 94.4% ± 4.12% vs. 79.2% ± 7.48% (p < 0.05). The removal of PAHs was probably due to sorption in particular matter, confirmed by the higher distribution coefficient of individual and total PAHs in solid samples (dewatered sludge contained 92.5% and 74.7% of total PAHs in SCISTW and STSTW, respectively) than liquid samples (final effluent-total contained 7.53% and 25.3% of total PAHs in STSTW and SCISTW, respectively). Despite the impressive capability of STSTW and SCISTW in removing PAHs, there was still a considerable amount of total PAHs (1.85 and 39.3 kg/year, respectively for the two STPs) being discharged into Hong Kong coastal waters, which would be an environmental concern. Copyright © 2016 The Research Center for Eco-Environmental Sciences, Chinese Academy of Sciences. Published by Elsevier B.V.
CitationMan, Y. B., Chow, K. L., Cheng, Z., Mo, W. Y., Chan, Y. H., Lam, J. C. W. (2017). Profiles and removal efficiency of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons by two different types of sewage treatment plants in Hong Kong. Journal of Environmental Sciences, 53, 196-206.
- Sewage treatment plants
- Removal efficiency