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Trace Organic Chemical Profiles in Nutrient Removal Systems With and Without Integrated Fixed Film Activated Sludge

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Removal of trace organic compounds, including endocrine disrupting chemicals (EDCs), was assessed in a pilot-scale integrated fixed film activated sludge (IFAS) system and a non-IFAS control. The systems performed similarly with respect to COD removal, but the IFAS system provided improved nitrification. Removal of some hormones was also improved in the IFAS system, as was overall estrogenic activity as determined by the yeast estrogen screen (YES) assay. Of all trace organics analyzed, seven demonstrated improved removal in the IFAS system, four had similar removal rates, and one (atrazine) had better removal in the Control system. Compound Kow values were not correlated with removal efficiencies. Estrogenic activity increased in intermediate anoxic bioreactors, suggesting deconjugation or other compound transformations yielded products with increased activity. The overall results suggests IFAS systems may help to reduce wastewater discharges of trace organics, including estrogenic compounds.

Keywords: Endocrine disrupting chemicals (EDCs); integrated fixed film activated sludge (IFAS); microconstituents; nitrification; trace organics

Document Type: Research Article


Publication date: January 1, 2009

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