An evaluation of free water surface wetlands as tertiary sewage water treatment of micro-pollutants
2012 (English)In: Ecotoxicology and Environmental Safety, ISSN 0147-6513, E-ISSN 1090-2414, Vol. 78, 63-71 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Increased attention is currently directed towards potential negative effects of pharmaceuticals and other micro-pollutants discharged into the aquatic environment via municipal sewage water. A number of additional treatment technologies, such as ozonation, have therefore been suggested as promising tools for improving the removal efficiency of pharmaceuticals in existing Sewage Treatment Plants (STPs). Constructed wetlands are also capable of removing a variety of micro-pollutants, including some pharmaceuticals, and could hence be a resource efficient complement to more advanced treatment technologies. The purpose of the present study was therefore to increase the knowledge base concerning the potential use of constructed wetlands as a treatment step to reduce emissions of organic micro-pollutants from municipal sewage effluents. Under cold winter conditions, incoming and outgoing waters from four Swedish free water surface wetlands, operated as final treatment steps of sewage effluent from municipal STPs, were sampled and analyzed for levels of a set of 92 pharmaceuticals and 22 inorganic components as well as assessed using subchronic ecotoxicity tests with a macro-alga and a crustacean. Sixty-five pharmaceuticals were detected in the range from 1 ng L-1 to 7.6 mu g L-1 in incoming and outgoing waters from the four investigated wetlands. Although the sampling design used in the present study lacks the robustness of volume proportional to 24 h composite samples, the average estimated removal rates ranged from 42% to 52%, which correlates to previous published values. The effects observed in the ecotoxicity tests with the macro-alga (EC(50)s in the range of 7.5-46%) and the crustacean (LOECs in the range of 11.25-90%) could not be assigned to either pharmaceutical residues or metals, but in general showed that these treatment facilities release water with a relatively low toxic potential, comparable to water that has been treated with advanced tertiary treatments. From the present study it can be concluded that constructed wetlands may provide a complementary sewage treatment option, especially where other treatment is lacking today. To fully remove micro-pollutants from sewage effluent, however, other more advanced treatment technologies are likely needed.
Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2012. Vol. 78, 63-71 p.
Nitocra spinipes, Ceramium tenuicorne, Constructed wetlands, Sewage effluent, Wastewater
IdentifiersURN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-76140DOI: 10.1016/j.ecoenv.2011.11.014ISI: 000301316500010OAI: oai:DiVA.org:su-76140DiVA: diva2:526097