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Potential Removal and Release of Nanomaterials from Wastewater Treatment Plants

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We studied the occurrence, characterization, and removal of nano- and larger-sized titanium (Ti) in a full-scale wastewater treatment plant. Raw sewage contained 100 – 3,000 μg/L Ti, while tertiary effluent Ti concentrations ranged from about 10 to 100 μg/L. The Ti that was removed across the treatment train accumulated in plant solids. Finished plant biosolids, tertiary effluent, and commercial toothpaste were analyzed by scanning electron microscopy, and various forms of Ti solids were observed, including aggregates containing nanoscale primary particles of titanium oxides. To support field work, laboratory batch sorption experiments were conducted with various types of nanoparticles as sorbates and wastewater biomass as sorbent. Upon exposure to 400 mg/L total suspended solids of wastewater biomass, 97% of silver nanoparticles 88% of fullerenes, 39% of functionalized nanosilver, 23% of nanoscale titanium dioxide, and only 13% of fullerol nanoparticles were removed.

Keywords: Nanomaterials; fate and transport; release; sorption; wastewater

Document Type: Research Article


Publication date: 2010-01-01

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