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Behavior, Fate, and Mass Loading of Short Chain Chlorinated Paraffins in an Advanced Municipal Sewage Treatment Plant

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journal contribution
posted on 15.01.2013, 00:00 by Lixi Zeng, Huijuan Li, Thanh Wang, Yan Gao, Ke Xiao, Yuguo Du, Yawei Wang, Guibin Jiang
Sewage treatment plants (STP) are an important source of short chain chlorinated paraffins (SCCPs) to the ambient environment through discharge of effluent and application of sludge. In this work, a field study was conducted to determine the behavior and possible removal of SCCPs during the sewage treatment process in an advanced municipal STP in Beijing, China. SCCPs were detected in all sewage water and sludge samples, and 97% of the initial mass loading in raw sewage was found to be associated with suspended matter. The total concentrations in raw influent, tertiary effluent, and dewatered sludge were 184 ± 19 ng/L, 27 ± 6 ng/L, and 15.6 ± 1.4 μg/g dry weight (d.w.), respectively. The dissolved concentrations of total SCCPs (∑SCCPs) significantly decreased during mechanical, biological, and chemical treatments. SCCP homologue profiles in aqueous phase were distinctly different from those in solid phase. Along the treatment process, the relative abundance of shorter chain and lower chlorinated congeners gradually increased in sewage water, but no obvious variations of homologue profiles were found in sludge. Mass flow analysis indicated, the removal efficiency in aqueous phase for ∑SCCPs was 82.2%, and the congener-specific removal efficiencies were positively related to their solid–water partition coefficients (Kd). Mass balance results indicated that 0.8% and 72.6% of the initial SCCP mass loading were ultimately found in the effluents and dewatered sludge, respectively, while the remaining 26.6% was lost mainly due to biodegradation/biotransformation. It was suggested that the activated sludge system including basic anaerobic–anoxic–aerobic processes played an effective role in removing SCCPs from the wastewater, while the sorption to sludge by hydrophobic interactions was an important fate of SCCPs during the sewage treatment.