Journal article

Occurrence and fate of micropollutants in the Vidy Bay of Lake Geneva, part II: Micropollutant removal between wastewater and raw drinking water

The occurrence and removal of 58 pharmaceuticals, endocrine disruptors, corrosion inhibitors, biocides, and pesticides, were assessed in the wastewater treatment plant (WWTP) of the city of Lausanne, Switzerland, as well as in the effluent-receiving water body, the Vidy Bay of Lake Geneva. An analytical screening method to simultaneously measure all of the 58 micropollutants was developed based on ultra performance liquid chromatography coupled to a tandem mass spectrometer (UPLC-MS/MS). The selection of pharmaceuticals was primarily based on a prioritization study, which designated them as environmentally relevant for the Lake Geneva region. Except for the endocrine disruptor 17-ethinylestradiol, all substances were detected in 24-h composite samples of wastewater entering the WWTP or in the treated effluent. Of these compounds, 40% were also detected in raw drinking water, pumped from the lake 3 km downstream of the WWTP. The contributions of dilution and degradation to micropollutant elimination between the WWTP outlet and the raw drinking water intake were established in different model scenarios using hypothetical residence times of the wastewater in Vidy Bay of 1, 4, or 90 d. Concentration decrease due to processes other than dilution was observed for diclofenac, beta-blockers, several antibiotics, corrosion inhibitors, and pesticides. Measured environmental concentrations (MECs) of pharmaceuticals were compared to the predicted environmental concentrations (PECs) determined in the prioritization study and agreed within one order of magnitude, but MECs were typically greater than the corresponding PECs. Predicted no-effect concentrations of the analgesic paracetamol, and the two antibiotics ciprofloxacin and sulfamethoxazole, were exceeded in raw drinking water samples and therefore present a potential risk to the ecosystem.


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