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Removal of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons and heterocyclic nitrogen compounds in a municipal treatment plant

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Abstract:

Emissions of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) and heterocyclic nitrogenous compounds (HNCs) were measured at a publicly owned treatment works (POTW) receiving a dry weather flow (DWF) of 409 ML/d. Samples of raw sewage, primary and secondary effluents were monitored over three sampling periods and were screened for 16 PAHs and 24 HNCs. The PAHs tended to partition to the solid phase while the HNCs were predominantly found in the liquid phase. Higher levels of PAHs were observed in the raw wastewaters than typically seen at POTWs, suggesting the influence of industrial discharges. Despite removal efficiencies of 98.3% for PAHs and 96.3% for HNCs, average daily effluent mass discharges of 0.2 kg PAHs/d and 1.0 kg HNCs/d were measured. A fate of contaminants model, Toxchem, was used to forecast the impact of different process strategies for minimizing the discharge of PAHs. Analysis suggested that increases of up to 50% in primary or secondary clarifier capacity would not likely improve PAH capture. A 100% increase in the solids retention time of the activated sludge system similarly would not likely improve PAH removal.

Keywords: ACTIVATED SLUDGE; HETEROCYCLIC NITROGEN COMPOUNDS; NITROGEN; POLYCYCLIC HYDROCARBONS; TOXIC COMPOUNDS

Document Type: Research Article

DOI: https://doi.org/10.2175/106143095X133158

Publication date: 1995-09-01

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  • Water Environment Research (WER) is published monthly, including an annual Literature Review. A subscription to WER includes access to the latest content back to 1992, as well as access to fast track articles. An individual subscription is valid for 12 months from month of purchase.

    Water Environment Research� (WER�) publishes peer-reviewed research papers, research notes, state-of-the-art and critical reviews on original, fundamental and applied research in all scientific and technical areas related to water quality, pollution control, and management. An annual Literature Review provides a review of published books and articles on water quality topics from the previous year.

    Published as: Sewage Works Journal, 1928 - 1949; Sewage and Industrial Wastes, 1950 - 1959; Journal Water Pollution Control Federation, 1959 - Oct 1989; Research Journal Water Pollution Control Federation, Nov 1989 - 1991; Water Environment Research, 1992 - present.
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