Secondary biological treatment is at the foundation of wastewater treatment processes utilized throughout much of the world. Typical diffused air activated sludge systems can reduce organic contaminants through sorption, air stripping, and biotransformation. Pharmaceuticals and personal
care products (PPCPs) tend to be more hydrophilic and less volatile than traditionally regulated toxic organics and therefore less amenable to sorption and air stripping and more dependent upon biotransformation. This study is a sampling survey of arid Southwest full-scale facilities and a
pilot-scale membrane bioreactor (MBR) selected and operated to encompass a broad range of secondary sludge retention times (SRTs). The objective of the study is to evaluate pass-through of PPCP compounds in secondary treatment in order to determine whether better reduction appears to be achieved
at facilities with longer SRTs.
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