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Fate of Octyl- and Nonylphenol Ethoxylates and Some Carboxylated Derivatives in Three American Wastewater Treatment Plants

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posted on 2007-10-01, 00:00 authored by Jorge E. Loyo-Rosales, Clifford P. Rice, Alba Torrents
The fate of a comprehensive group of nonylphenol and octylphenol ethoxylates (APEOs) and several of their carboxylated derivatives was studied in three American wastewater treatment plants (WWTPs), two of which included advanced treatment. Influent and effluent concentrations of the alkylphenolic compounds (APEs) in the three plants were very similar, but effluent concentrations showed a seasonal dependency:  both carboxylate and ethoxylate concentrations in the effluents were higher in winter than in summer. Sorption to particulate matter was higher for nonylphenolic compounds than for their octylphenolic counterparts, in agreement with their difference in Kow values. Both effluent concentrations and the removal efficiency of the APEOs were strongly correlated to water temperature, but no correlation was found with suspended solids or organic carbon removal. Although APEO removal from wastewater was high, overall removal from the WWTPs, including APEOs in waste sludge and transformation products, was relatively low and suggested that advanced treatment does not invariably result in better APEO removal. Additionally, a survey of urban sewers suggested that household products still constitute an important source of the APEOs reaching WWTPs.

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