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From market to environment – consumption-normalised pharmaceutical emissions in the Rhine catchment


Varga, Laura; Fenner, Kathrin; Singer, Heinz; Honti, Mark (2023). From market to environment – consumption-normalised pharmaceutical emissions in the Rhine catchment. Water research, 239:120017.

Abstract

Direct and indirect threats by organic micropollutants can only be reliably assessed and prevented if the exposure to these chemicals is known, which in turn requires a confident estimate of their emitted amounts into the environment. APIs (Active Pharmaceutical Ingredients) enter surface waters mostly through the sewer system and wastewater treatment plants (WWTPs). However, their effluent fluxes are highly variable and influenced by several different factors that challenge robust emission estimates. Here, we defined a dimensionless, theoretically consumption-independent ‘escape factor’ (kesc) for estimating the amount of APIs (expected to be) present in WWTP effluents. The factor is determined as the proportion of marketed and actually emitted amounts of APIs. A large collection of German and Swiss monitoring datasets were analyzed to calculate stochastic kesc values for 31 APIs, reflecting both the magnitude and uncertainty of consumption-normalised emissions. Escape factors provide an easy-to-use tool for the estimation of average API emissions and expected variability from numerous WWTPs given that consumption data are provided, thereby supporting simulation modeling of the fate of APIs in stream networks or exposure assessments.

Abstract

Direct and indirect threats by organic micropollutants can only be reliably assessed and prevented if the exposure to these chemicals is known, which in turn requires a confident estimate of their emitted amounts into the environment. APIs (Active Pharmaceutical Ingredients) enter surface waters mostly through the sewer system and wastewater treatment plants (WWTPs). However, their effluent fluxes are highly variable and influenced by several different factors that challenge robust emission estimates. Here, we defined a dimensionless, theoretically consumption-independent ‘escape factor’ (kesc) for estimating the amount of APIs (expected to be) present in WWTP effluents. The factor is determined as the proportion of marketed and actually emitted amounts of APIs. A large collection of German and Swiss monitoring datasets were analyzed to calculate stochastic kesc values for 31 APIs, reflecting both the magnitude and uncertainty of consumption-normalised emissions. Escape factors provide an easy-to-use tool for the estimation of average API emissions and expected variability from numerous WWTPs given that consumption data are provided, thereby supporting simulation modeling of the fate of APIs in stream networks or exposure assessments.

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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:Pollution, Waste Management and Disposal, Water Science and Technology, Ecological Modeling, Environmental Engineering, Civil and Structural Engineering
Language:English
Date:1 July 2023
Deposited On:23 Feb 2024 08:30
Last Modified:30 Jun 2024 03:33
Publisher:Elsevier
ISSN:0043-1354
OA Status:Hybrid
Publisher DOI:https://doi.org/10.1016/j.watres.2023.120017
PubMed ID:37172372
  • Content: Published Version
  • Language: English
  • Licence: Creative Commons: Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International (CC BY-NC-ND 4.0)