American Chemical Society
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Passive Secondary Biological Treatment Systems Reduce Estrogens in Dairy Shed Effluent

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journal contribution
posted on 2010-10-01, 00:00 authored by Jennifer B. Gadd, Grant L. Northcott, Louis A. Tremblay
Steroid estrogens are found at high concentrations in untreated dairy shed effluents. Reduction of estrogenic activity and steroid estrogen concentrations was assessed in two systems used to treat dairy shed effluents: the two-pond system and the advanced pond system. Both include anaerobic and aerobic treatment stages. Samples of effluent were collected from the systems and analyzed for free estrogens, conjugated estrogens and total estrogenic activity using E-Screen assay. Both systems showed increases of up to 8000% in aqueous free estrogens and estrogenic activity after anaerobic treatment, followed by decreases after aerobic treatment (36−83%). The complete systems decreased total steroid estrogen concentrations by 50−100% and estrogen activity by 62−100%, with little difference between systems. Removal rates were lower in winter for both systems. Final effluents from the advanced pond system contained total estrogens at <15−1400 ng/L and estrogenic activity at 3.2−43 ng/L. Final effluent from the two-pond system contained total estrogens at <15−300 ng/L and estrogenic activity at 3.3−25 ng/L. At times the final effluent EEQs exceeded guideline values for protection of freshwater fish and suggest further treatment may be required.