Assessing the Effects of Ozonation on the Concentrations of Personal Care Products and Acute Toxicity in Sludges of Wastewater Treatment Plants

Toxics(2023)

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Abstract
The aim of this study was to understand the distribution of the personal care products nonylphenol (NP), triclosan (TCS), benzophenone-3 (BP-3), and caffeine in the sludges from three wastewater treatment plants (WWTP-A, -B, and -C) in southern Taiwan. The four compounds were analyzed from activated sludge and dewatered sludge samples, and then the samples were treated with pressure-assisted ozonation under different conditions and removal efficiencies. All four target compounds were detected, especially NP, which was detected in the highest concentrations in the activated sludges of WWTP-A and dewatered sludges of WWTP-C at 17.19 +/- 4.10 and 2.41 +/- 1.93 mu g/g, respectively. TCS was dominant in dewatered sludges from WWTP-B, and the highest detected concentration was 13.29 +/- 6.36 mu g/g. Removals of 70% and 90% were attained under 150 psi at 40 cycles for NP and TCS, respectively, with 5 min of ozonation reaction time, a solid/water ratio of 1:20, and 2% ozone concentration. Ecological risk quotients (RQs) were calculated by the ratios of the 10-day Hyalella azteca (freshwater amphipod) LC50 to the environmental concentrations of the target compounds. High RQs were found to be >10 for NP, TCS, and BP-3 in untreated sludges, resulting in significant ecological risks to aquatic organisms when the sludges are arbitrarily disposed. However, the toxic effects on Hyalella azteca were not significantly different among ozone sludge treatments. The reason for this may be related to the formation of toxic oxidation by-products and incomplete mineralization of organic compounds. This could also be true for unknown intermediates. The relatively high detection frequencies of these emerging compounds in WWTP sludges requires further applications and treatments.
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Key words
PCP remediation,wastewater treatment plants,nonylphenol,triclosan,benzophenone-3,caffeine,pressure-assisted ozonation,ecological risk,invertebrate model
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