State Water Resources Research Institute Program


Project ID: 2007NC70B
Title: Protecting Receiving Waters: Removal of Biochemically Active Compounds from Wastewater by Sequential Photochemical and Biological Oxidation Processes
Project Type: Research
Start Date: 3/01/2007
End Date: 2/29/2008
Congressional District: 2
Focus Categories: Treatment, Wastewater, Water Quality
Keywords: Endocrine disrupting chemicals, pharmaceutically active compounds, biodegradation, oxidation, wastewater treatment, water reuse
Principal Investigator: Knappe, Detlef
Federal Funds: $ 25,120
Non-Federal Matching Funds: $ 57,871
Abstract: The presence of biochemically active compounds (BACs) such as endocrine disrupting chemicals (EDCs), antimicrobial compounds, and other pharmaceutically active compounds in the aquatic environment is an issue of great importance. For example, EDCs may cause intersexuality in fish, and antimicrobial compounds may lead to the evolution of antibiotic-resistant bacteria. The principal objective of the proposed research is to quantify the effectiveness of combining UV/H2O2 and biological oxidation processes for the mineralization of six BACs (the antimicrobial compounds sulfamethazine, sulfadiazine, trimethoprim, the EDCs bisphenol-A and 17-α ethinyl estradiol, and the analgesic diclofenac) that commonly occur in conventionally treated wastewater.

Specific objectives are (1) to evaluate the effects of the wastewater treatment plant (WWTP) effluent matrix on photolysis and photooxidation rates of BACs, (2) to quantify effects of the WWTP matrix on removal rates of biological activity by the yeast estrogen screen (YES) and minimum inhibitory concentration (MIC) assays (3) to quantify the mineralization potential of 14C-labeled BAC oxidation products as a function of UV/H2O2 oxidation conditions (UV fluence, H2O2 concentration), and (4) to measure biodegradation rates of 14C-labeled BAC oxidation products in reactors simulating the discharge of treated wastewater into two NC surface waters. In addition, the effects of UV/H2O2 treatment conditions on effluent organic matter characteristic such as biochemical oxygen demand (BOD5), assimilable organic carbon (AOC) concentration, dissolved organic carbon (DOC) concentration, and UV absorbance at 254 nm (UV254) will be measured.

The goal of the proposed research is to develop an advanced wastewater treatment strategy that provides a barrier against the release of BACs into North Carolina surface waters and that yields readily biodegradable oxidation intermediates. Benefits of the proposed research include not only improved habitat for aquatic life, but also improved water quality for drinking water treatment plants that rely on surface water sources impacted by upstream WWTP discharges.

Progress/Completion Report, PDF

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