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Open Access Content loaded within last 14 days Behavior of Glyphosate in Wastewater Treatment Plants

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The herbicide glyphosate is frequently detected in surface waters and its occurrence is linked to agricultural as well as urban uses. Elevated concentrations downstream of wastewater treatment plants (WWTPs) suggest that municipal wastewater is an important source of glyphosate in surface waters. We therefore conducted a study at a typical municipal WWTP in Switzerland to characterize the seasonality of glyphosate occurrence, the removal efficiency, and the processes involved in glyphosate removal. Glyphosate was present in raw (mechanically treated) wastewater during the whole study period (April to November). A lab incubation experiment with activated sludge indicated negligible degradation of glyphosate. Lack of degradation combined with strong adsorption lead to substantial enrichment of the compound in the sludge. Due to this enrichment and the long residence time of activated sludge (several days, compared to hours for wastewater itself), concentrations in treated wastewater show comparatively little variation, whereas concentrations in raw wastewater may fluctuate considerably. Overall removal efficiencies were in the range of 71–96%. This behavior could be described qualitatively using a numerical model that included input of glyphosate via raw wastewater, adsorption to activated sludge, and export via treated wastewater and excess sludge, but excluded degradation processes.
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Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: Agroscope, Plant Protection Chemistry, Müller-Thurgau-Strasse 29, CH-8820 Wädenswil, Switzerland;, Email: [email protected] 2: Agroscope, Vegetable-Production Extension, Müller-Thurgau- Strasse 29, CH-8820 Wädenswil, Switzerland 3: Agroscope, Plant Protection Chemistry, Müller-Thurgau-Strasse 29, CH-8820 Wädenswil, Switzerland

Publication date: March 1, 2020

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  • International Journal for Chemistry and Official Membership Journal of the Swiss Chemical Society (SCS) and its Divisions

    CHIMIA, a scientific journal for chemistry in the broadest sense, is published 10 times a year and covers the interests of a wide and diverse readership. Contributions from all fields of chemistry and related areas are considered for publication in the form of Review Articles and Notes. A characteristic feature of CHIMIA are the thematic issues, each devoted to an area of great current significance.

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