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Large-scale assessment of organic contaminant emissions from chemical and pharmaceutical manufacturing into Swiss surface waters


Anliker, Sabine; Santiago, Sergio; Fenner, Kathrin; Singer, Heinz (2022). Large-scale assessment of organic contaminant emissions from chemical and pharmaceutical manufacturing into Swiss surface waters. Water research, 215:118221.

Abstract

This study presents a nation-wide assessment of the influence of chemical and pharmaceutical manufacturing (CPM) wastewaters on synthetic organic contaminant (SOC) emissions to Swiss surface waters. Geographic Information System (GIS) based analysis of the presence of CPM in wastewater treatment plant (WWTP) catchments revealed wide distribution of this industrial sector across Switzerland, suggesting that one-third of the 718 Swiss WWTPs may be influenced by CPM wastewaters. To reflect the diversity of this type of wastewaters, we investigated the effluents of 11 WWTPs of diverse sizes and technologies, which treated 0-100% wastewater from a variety of CPM activities. In an extensive sampling campaign, we collected temporally high resolved (i.e., daily) samples for 2-3 months to capture the dynamics of CPM discharges. The > 850 samples were then measured with liquid chromatography high-resolution mass spectrometry (LC-HRMS). Non-target characterization of the LC-HRMS time series datasets revealed that CPM wastewaters left a highly variable and site-specific signature in the effluents of the WWTPs. Particularly, compared to WWTPs with purely domestic input, a larger variety of substances (up to 15 times more compounds) with higher maximum concentrations (1-2 orders of magnitude) and more uncommon substances were found in CPM-influenced effluents. Moreover, in the latter, highly fluctuating discharges often contributed to a substantial fraction of the overall emissions. The largely varying characteristics of CPM discharges between different facilities were primarily related to the type of activities at the industries (i.e., production versus processing of chemicals) as well as to the pre-treatment and storage of CPM wastewaters. Eventually, for one WWTP, LC-HRMS time series were correlated with ecotoxicity time series obtained from bioassays and major toxic components could be identified. Overall, in view of their potential relevance to water quality, a strong focus on SOC discharges from CPM is essential, including the design of situation-specific monitoring, as well as risk assessment and mitigation strategies that consider the variability of industrial emissions.

Keywords: Chemical and pharmaceutical industry; High-resolution mass spectrometry; Industrial wastewater; Micropollutants; Non-target analysis; Temporal data.

Abstract

This study presents a nation-wide assessment of the influence of chemical and pharmaceutical manufacturing (CPM) wastewaters on synthetic organic contaminant (SOC) emissions to Swiss surface waters. Geographic Information System (GIS) based analysis of the presence of CPM in wastewater treatment plant (WWTP) catchments revealed wide distribution of this industrial sector across Switzerland, suggesting that one-third of the 718 Swiss WWTPs may be influenced by CPM wastewaters. To reflect the diversity of this type of wastewaters, we investigated the effluents of 11 WWTPs of diverse sizes and technologies, which treated 0-100% wastewater from a variety of CPM activities. In an extensive sampling campaign, we collected temporally high resolved (i.e., daily) samples for 2-3 months to capture the dynamics of CPM discharges. The > 850 samples were then measured with liquid chromatography high-resolution mass spectrometry (LC-HRMS). Non-target characterization of the LC-HRMS time series datasets revealed that CPM wastewaters left a highly variable and site-specific signature in the effluents of the WWTPs. Particularly, compared to WWTPs with purely domestic input, a larger variety of substances (up to 15 times more compounds) with higher maximum concentrations (1-2 orders of magnitude) and more uncommon substances were found in CPM-influenced effluents. Moreover, in the latter, highly fluctuating discharges often contributed to a substantial fraction of the overall emissions. The largely varying characteristics of CPM discharges between different facilities were primarily related to the type of activities at the industries (i.e., production versus processing of chemicals) as well as to the pre-treatment and storage of CPM wastewaters. Eventually, for one WWTP, LC-HRMS time series were correlated with ecotoxicity time series obtained from bioassays and major toxic components could be identified. Overall, in view of their potential relevance to water quality, a strong focus on SOC discharges from CPM is essential, including the design of situation-specific monitoring, as well as risk assessment and mitigation strategies that consider the variability of industrial emissions.

Keywords: Chemical and pharmaceutical industry; High-resolution mass spectrometry; Industrial wastewater; Micropollutants; Non-target analysis; Temporal data.

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Additional indexing

Item Type:Journal Article, refereed, original work
Communities & Collections:07 Faculty of Science > Department of Chemistry
Dewey Decimal Classification:540 Chemistry
Scopus Subject Areas:Physical Sciences > Environmental Engineering
Physical Sciences > Civil and Structural Engineering
Physical Sciences > Ecological Modeling
Physical Sciences > Water Science and Technology
Physical Sciences > Waste Management and Disposal
Physical Sciences > Pollution
Uncontrolled Keywords:Micropollutants, Industrial wastewater, Chemical and pharmaceutical industry, High-resolution mass spectrometry, Non-target analysis, Temporal data
Language:English
Date:1 May 2022
Deposited On:06 Jan 2023 14:41
Last Modified:29 Mar 2024 02:37
Publisher:Elsevier
ISSN:0043-1354
OA Status:Hybrid
Free access at:Publisher DOI. An embargo period may apply.
Publisher DOI:https://doi.org/10.1016/j.watres.2022.118221
PubMed ID:35259558
  • Content: Published Version
  • Language: English
  • Licence: Creative Commons: Attribution 4.0 International (CC BY 4.0)