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The fate of six estrogenic compounds during aerobic biological treatment of a high strength industrial wastewater was examined in a bench-scale sequencing batch reactor. Both free and conjugated forms of the estrogens were analyzed. Custom GC/MS analytical methods were developed by
others and used during this study to measure both soluble and solids-associated estrogens. A complete mass balance was developed around the reactor for each individual estrogen compound by accounting for influent mass loading, effluent decant mass loading (liquid and solids-associated), mass
loading in the biomass waste stream (liquid and solids-associated), and volatilization of the estrogens in the off-gas. The discrepancy between the influent and other mass loadings was attributed to biodegradation and/or biotransformation. Biodegradation/biotransformation levels of 77.3–99.9%
were realized for individual compounds. Overall biodegradation/biotransformation levels of 99% were realized for the aggregate of estrogens tested. These removal percentages were realized for estrogens that were present individually at concentrations from 3.3 to 550 μg/L in the influent.
This study corroborates successful removal of individual estrogens during operation of a pilot-scale membrane bioreactor (MBR) from a pharmaceutical manufacturing wastewater (Helmig et al., 2005), thereby further demonstrating the promising application of standard aerobic biological treatment
methods to meet increasingly stringent discharge limits of estrogens from industrial operations.
Proceedings of the Water Environment Federation is an archive of papers published in the proceedings of the annual Water Environment Federation® Technical Exhibition and Conference (WEFTEC® ) and specialty conferences held since the year 2000. These proceedings are not peer reviewed. WEF Members: Sign in (right panel) with your IngentaConnect user name and password to receive complimentary access.