Skip to main content

The Importance of Physical and Chemical Characteristics of Microconstituents in the Selection of Treatment Technologies

Buy Article:

$17.50 plus tax (Refund Policy)

Or sign up for a free trial


Some Microconstituents are known or potential Endocrine Disruptor Compounds (EDCs). Known EDCs can come from groups of compounds such as human and veterinary drugs, pesticides and industrial chemicals. Only some of the compounds in these groups are EDCs. EDCs include naturally occurring and synthetic steroid hormones, organohalides, metals, alkylphenols, polynuclear aromatic hydrocarbons, crude oil and plasticizers. These compounds may interfere with hormone processes in both humans and wildlife. EDCs are being detected more in the environment in water, wastewater and biosolids as more studies are done and analytical techniques have progressed. This topic has galvanized the scientific, regulatory and public communities alike.

This paper discusses the physical and chemical properties of these microconstituents and what types of treatment technologies are evaluated and used on projects. An approach for evaluating and developing wastewater treatment solutions is discussed. The approach includes first using process modeling to determine expected treatment performance using the physical and chemical properties. Bench-scale and pilot-scale treatability studies are then included in the approach to test treatment processes in the laboratory or field prior to design. Another part of the approach is developing and using cost and non-cost evaluation criteria to screen alternatives prior to the treatability testing.

Three pharmaceutical case studies will be presented to show how treatment solutions are both plant location and compound specific. One case study will show how a pharmaceutical compound, which passes through conventional treatment, can be destroyed in pretreatment and reduce effluent toxicity. A second case study will show how one company determined the removal of a pharmaceutical active through treatability testing. A third case study will show an approach for determining the ultimate fate of the microconstituents and what percentage ends up in the treated effluent and in biosolids.

The various case studies will show how the approach ties together the key issues and selection criteria to the overall selection of technologies. The combination of treatment technologies selected is used to achieve treatment/destruction of microconstituents and EDCs and determine the ultimate fate of the EDCs through treatment.

Keywords: active pharmaceutical ingredients (APIs); advanced oxidation processes (AOPs); membrane bioreactors; microconstituents; pharmaceutical wastewater treatment; process modeling

Document Type: Research Article


Publication date: 2009-01-01

More about this publication?
  • 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.

    A subscription to the Proceedings of the Water Environment Federation includes access to most papers presented at the annual WEF Technical Exhibition and Conference (WEFTEC) and other conferences held since 2000. Subscription access begins 12 months after the event and is valid for 12 months from month of purchase. A subscription to the Proceedings of the Water Environment Federation is included in Water Environment Federation (WEF) membership.

    WEF Members: Sign in (right panel) with your IngentaConnect user name and password to receive complimentary access. Access begins 12 months after the conference or event
  • Subscribe to this Title
  • Membership Information
  • About WEF Proceedings
  • WEFTEC Conference Information
  • Learn about the many other WEF member benefits and join today
  • Ingenta Connect is not responsible for the content or availability of external websites
  • Access Key
  • Free content
  • Partial Free content
  • New content
  • Open access content
  • Partial Open access content
  • Subscribed content
  • Partial Subscribed content
  • Free trial content
Cookie Policy
Cookie Policy
Ingenta Connect website makes use of cookies so as to keep track of data that you have filled in. I am Happy with this Find out more