Are perfluoroalkyl acids in waste water treatment plant effluents the result of primary emissions from the technosphere or of environmental recirculation?
2014 (English)In: Chemosphere, ISSN 0045-6535, E-ISSN 1879-1298, Vol. 129, 74-80 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Wastewater treatment plants (WWTP) have been suggested to be one of the major pathways of perfluoroalkyl acids (PFAAs) from the technosphere to the aquatic environment. The origin of PFAAs in WWTP influents is either from current primary emissions or a result of recirculation of PFAAs that have been residing and transported in the environment for several years or decades. Environmental recirculation can then occur when PFAAs from the environment enter the wastewater stream in, e.g., tap water. In this study 13 PFAAs and perfluorooctane sulfonamide were analyzed in tap water as well as WWTP influent, effluent and sludge from three Swedish cities: Bromma (in the metropolitan area of Stockholm), Bollebygd and Umeå. A mass balance of the WWTPs was assembled for each PFAA. Positive mass balances were observed for PFHxA and PFOA in all WWTPs, indicating the presence of precursor compounds in the technosphere. With regard to environmental recirculation, tap water was an important source of PFAAs to the Bromma WWTP influent, contributing >40% for each quantified sulfonic acid and up to 30% for the carboxylic acids. The PFAAs in tap water from Bollebygd and Umeå did not contribute significantly to the PFAA load in the WWTP influents. Our results show that in order to estimate current primary emissions from the technosphere, it may be necessary to correct the PFAA emission rates in WWTP effluents for PFAAs present in tap water, especially in the case of elevated levels in tap water.
Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2014. Vol. 129, 74-80 p.
PFOA, PFOS, Tap water, Waste Water, Sweden, Emission rates
PFOA, PFOS, dricksvatten, Reningsverk, Stockholm, Sverige, Emissioner
Research subject Applied Environmental Science
IdentifiersURN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-113015DOI: 10.1016/j.chemosphere.2014.07.082ISI: 000353732600010OAI: oai:DiVA.org:su-113015DiVA: diva2:782394
FunderSwedish Research Council