Hydrophilic anthropogenic markers for quantification of wastewater contamination in ground-and surface WATERS

Authors

  • Maren Kahle,

    1. Plant Protection Chemistry, Agroscope Changins-Wädenswil Research Station ACW, Schloss, P.O. Box 185, CH-8820 Wädenswil, Switzerland
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  • Ignaz J. Buerge,

    1. Plant Protection Chemistry, Agroscope Changins-Wädenswil Research Station ACW, Schloss, P.O. Box 185, CH-8820 Wädenswil, Switzerland
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  • Markus D. Müller,

    1. Plant Protection Chemistry, Agroscope Changins-Wädenswil Research Station ACW, Schloss, P.O. Box 185, CH-8820 Wädenswil, Switzerland
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  • Thomas Poiger

    Corresponding author
    1. Plant Protection Chemistry, Agroscope Changins-Wädenswil Research Station ACW, Schloss, P.O. Box 185, CH-8820 Wädenswil, Switzerland
    • Plant Protection Chemistry, Agroscope Changins-Wädenswil Research Station ACW, Schloss, P.O. Box 185, CH-8820 Wädenswil, Switzerland
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  • Published on the Web 8/14/2009.

Abstract

Hydrophilic, persistent markers are useful to detect, locate, and quantify contamination of natural waters with domestic wastewater. The present study focused on occurrence and fate of seven marker candidates including carbamazepine (CBZ), 10,11-dihydro-10,11-dihydroxycarbamazepine (DiOH-CBZ), primidone (PMD), crotamiton (CTMT), N-acetyl-4-aminoantipyrine (AAA), N-formyl-4-aminoantipyrine (FAA), and benzotriazole (BTri) in wastewater treatment plants (WWTPs), lakes, and groundwater. In WWTPs, concentrations from 0.14 μg/L to several micrograms per liter were observed for all substances, except CTMT, which was detected at lower concentrations. Loads determined in untreated and treated wastewater indicated that removal of the potential markers in WWTPs is negligible; only BTri was partly eliminated (average 33%). In lakes, five compounds, CBZ, DiOH-CBZ, FAA, AAA, and BTri, were consistently detected in concentrations of 2 to 70 ng/L, 3 to 150 ng/L, less than the limit of quantification to 30 ng/L, 2 to 80 ng/L, and 11 to 920 ng/L, respectively. Mean per capita loads in the outflows of the lakes suggested possible dissipation in surface waters, especially of AAA and FAA. Nevertheless, concentrations of CBZ, DiOH-CBZ, and BTri correlated with the actual anthropogenic burden of the lakes by domestic wastewater, indicating that these compounds are suitable for quantification of wastewater contamination in lakes. Marker candidates were also detected in a number of groundwater samples. Carbamazepine concentrations up to 42 ng/L were observed in aquifers with significant infiltration of river water, receiving considerable wastewater discharges from WWTPs. Concentration ratios between compounds indicated some elimination of BTri and DiOH-CBZ during subsurface passage or in groundwater, while CBZ and PMD appeared to be more stable and thus are promising wastewater markers for groundwater. The wastewater burden in groundwater, estimated with the markers CBZ and PMD, reached up to 6%.

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