Skip to main content

Free Synthetic and Natural Estrogen Hormones in Influent and Effluent of Three Municipal Wastewater Treatment Plants

Buy Article:

$30.00 plus tax (Refund Policy)


Three municipal wastewater treatment plants (WWTPs) in southeastern Pennsylvania were sampled to determine the presence and concentrations of 12 natural and synthetic estrogen hormones in the wastewater influent and effluent. The target estrogens were 17α-estradiol, estrone, estriol, equilin, 17α-dihydroequilin, 17β-estradiol, 17α-ethinyl estradiol, gestodene, norgestrel, levonorgestrel, medrogestone, and trimegestone. One WWTP uses a biofilm reactor (packed-bed trickling filter), and the other two use suspended-growth media (continuously stirred activated sludge reactor and sequential batch reactor). Estrone was detected in all the three plants; estriol and estradiol were detected at two WWTPs; and 17 α-dihydroequilin and 17 α-ethinyl estradiol were detected at one WWTP. The concentration of estrogens in the influent and effluent of the three treatment plants ranged from 1.2 to 259 ng/L and 0.5 to 49 ng/L, respectively. The percentage removal of estrogens from the aqueous phase ranged from 41 to 99%, except in the case of 17α-dihydroequilin; the removal of 17α-dihydroequilin was negligible. The suspended-growth media systems showed higher removal efficiencies for estrogens than the biofilm system. The analytical method uses a Varian C-18 solid-phase extraction (Varian Inc., Palo Alto, California), followed by a derivatization with bis(trimethylsilyl)trifluoroacetamide. The detection limits for the estrogen compounds ranged from 0.1 to 10 ng/L using a sample size of 1 L. The method recoveries ranged from 71 to 120%, and the relative standard deviation ranged from 6 to 14% for all the hormones.

Keywords: estrogens; gas chromatograph–mass spectrometry; hormone; natural estrogens; synthetic estrogens; wastewater; wastewater treatment plant

Document Type: Research Article


Publication date: September 1, 2007

More about this publication?
  • 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.
  • Editorial Board
  • Information for Authors
  • Submit a Paper
  • Subscribe to this Title
  • Membership Information
  • Information for Advertisers
  • WEF Bookstore
  • ingentaconnect is not responsible for the content or availability of external websites

Access Key

Free Content
Free content
New Content
New content
Open Access Content
Open access content
Subscribed Content
Subscribed content
Free Trial Content
Free trial content
Cookie Policy
Cookie Policy
ingentaconnect 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