Nowadays, alternative options to conventional wastewater treatment should be studied due to rising concerns emerged by the presence of pharmaceuticals compounds (PhCs) in the aquatic environment. In this work, a combined system including biological treatment by activated sludge plus adsorption with activated carbon is proposed to remove three selected drugs (acetaminophen (ACT), caffeine (CAF) and ibuprofen (IBU)) in a concentration of 2 mg L−1 of each one. For it three sequencing batch reactors (SBR) were operated. SBR-B treated a synthetic wastewater (SWW) without target drugs and SBR-PhC and SBR-PhC + AC operated with SWW doped with the three drugs, adding into SBR-PhC + AC 1.5 g L−1 of a mesoporous granular activated carbon. Results showed that the hybrid system SBR-activated carbon produced an effluent free of PhCs, which in addition had higher quality than that achieved in a conventional activated sludge treatment in terms of lower COD, turbidity and SMP concentrations. On the other hand, five possible routes of removal for target drugs during the biological treatment were studied. Hydrolysis, oxidation and volatilization pathways were negligible after 6 h of reaction time. Adsorption route only was significant for ACT, which was adsorbed completely after 5 h of reaction, while only 1.9% of CAF and 5.6% of IBU were adsorbed. IBU was the least biodegradable compound..
Eva Ferrer-Polonio (1), Julián Fernández-Navarro (2), María-Isabel Iborra-Clar (1), María-Isabel Alcaina-Miranda (1), José Antonio Mendoza-Roca (1).
(1) Instituto de Seguridad Industrial, Radiofísica y Medioambiental. Universitat Politècnica de València.
(2) Instituto Ingeniería del Agua y Medio Ambiente. Universitat Politècnica de València.
Eva Ferrer-Polonio, Julián Fernández-Navarro, María-Isabel Iborra-Clar, María-Isabel Alcaina-Miranda, José Antonio Mendoza-Roca. 2020. Removal of pharmaceutical compounds commonly-found in wastewater through a hybrid biological and adsorption process. Journal of Environmental Management. 263 (1). 110368. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jenvman.2020.110368