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Into Thin Air? Where do Synthetic Musk Fragrances Go during Wastewater Treatment?

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Influent and effluent concentration datasets from the technical literature, for two polycyclic musk fragrances, AHTN and HHCB, were used to calibrate the compound modeling parameters, used in the predictive fate model TOXCHEM+. Specifically, the values of the octanol-water partition coefficient (log Kow ) were modified to force a match between measured and predicted effluent concentrations of the two fragrance compounds. While the literature values for log Kow for AHTN and HHCB are 5.7 and 5.9, respectively, the median values determined in the calibration exercise were substantially lower at 5.22 and 5.03 for AHTN and HHCB, respectively. The range of estimated log Kow values was significantly narrower for AHTN than for HHCB. Using the median adjusted log Kow values for the musk fragrances in an unused dataset reserved for validation resulted in predicted effluent concentrations that were within 7 % of the value for AHTN and within 25% for the measured value of HHCB. The model results show that the main fate pathways for these fragrance compounds in activated sludge treatment are in the treated effluent and in the residual wastewater solids. Approximately 3 to 6 % of the fragrances is emitted to the atmosphere form treatment processes, while very little is biodegraded.


Document Type: Research Article


Publication date: July 29, 2007

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  • 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 These proceedings are not peer reviewed.

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