Correlation of six anthropogenic markers in wastewater, surface water, bank filtrate, and soil aquifer treatment

Marco Scheurer, Florian Rüdiger Storck, Carola Graf, Heinz Jürgen Brauch, Wolfgang Ruck, Ovadia Lev, Frank Thomas Lange

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

117 Scopus citations

Abstract

Six trace contaminants (acesulfame (ACE), sucralose (SUC), carbamazepine (CBZ), diatrizoic acid (DTA), 1H-benzotriazole (BTZ) and its 4-methyl analogue (4-TTri)) were traced from wastewater treatment plants (WWTPs) to receiving waters and further to riverbank filtration (RBF) wells to evaluate their prediction power as potential wastewater markers. Furthermore, the persistence of some compounds was investigated in advanced wastewater treatment by soil aquifer treatment (SAT). During wastewater treatment in four conventional activated sludge WWTPs ACE, SUC, and CBZ showed a pronounced stability expressed by stable concentration ratios in influent (in) and effluent (out) (ACE/CBZ: in45, out40; SUC/CBZ: in1.8, out1.7; and ACE/SUC: in24, out24). In a fifth WWTP, additional treatment with powdered activated carbon led to a strong elimination of CBZ, BTZ, and 4-TTri of about 80% and consequently to a distinctive shift of their ratios with unaffected compounds. Data from a seven month monitoring program at seven sampling locations at the rivers Rhine and Main in Germany revealed the best concentration correlation for ACE and CBZ (r2 = 0.94) and also a good correlation of ACE and CBZ concentrations to BTZ and 4-TTri levels (r2 = 0.66 to 0.82). The comparison of ratios at different sampling sites allowed for the identification of a CBZ point source. Furthermore, in Switzerland a higher consumption of SUC compared to Germany can be assumed, as a steadily increasing ACE/SUC ratio along the river Rhine was observed. In RBF wells a good correlation (r2 = 0.85) was again observed for ACE and CBZ. Both also showed the highest stability at a prolonged residence time in the subsurface of a SAT field. In the most peripheral wells ACE and CBZ were still detected with mean values higher than 36 μg L -1 and 1.3 μg L-1, respectively. Although SUC concentrations in wastewater used for SAT decreased by more than 80% from about 18 μg L-1 to 2.1 μg L-1 and 3.5 μg L-1 in these outlying wells, the compound was still adequate to indicate a wastewater impact in a qualitative way.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)966-973
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Environmental Monitoring
Volume13
Issue number4
DOIs
StatePublished - Apr 2011

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