Evaluating the polar organic chemical integrative sampler for the monitoring of beta-blockers and hormones in wastewater treatment plant effluents and receiving surface waters



Wastewater treatment plants (WWTP) are known to be a source of surface water contamination by organic compounds such as pharmaceuticals. The objective of the present work was to study the suitability of the polar organic chemical integrative sampler (POCIS) to monitor beta-blockers and hormones in effluents and surface waters. Four sampling campaigns were carried out in French rivers (the Saône, the Ardières, the Bourbre, and the Seine) between November 2007 and September 2008. Passive samplers were exposed in surface waters, upstream and downstream of WWTP outflows, and in effluents. Exposures lasted for up to 24 d to study the uptake kinetics directly in situ, and repeatability was assessed by exposure of triplicates. A good agreement was found between POCIS and water samples. With the exception of atenolol, beta-blockers showed a linear uptake during at least three weeks, and their sampling rates could be determined in situ. These sampling rates were then used to calculate time-weighted average concentrations of beta-blockers in the Seine River with an overall good accuracy and repeatability. Such calculations could not be performed for hormones because of their variable occurrences and low concentrations in water and POCIS. Polar organic chemical integrative sampler therefore seems to be a suitable tool for monitoring beta-blockers in surface waters impacted by WWTP effluents. Longer exposure durations would be necessary to determine the suitability of POCIS for monitoring hormones. Finally, preliminary assays on the use of several deuterated compounds as performance reference compounds showed promising results for deuterated atenolol. Environ. Toxicol. Chem. 2012;31:279–288. © 2011 SETAC