Contamination level of four priority phthalates in North Indian wastewater treatment plants and their fate in sequencing batch reactor systems.Environ Sci Process Impacts. 2016 Mar; 18(3):406-16.ES
The contamination level of four phthalates in untreated and treated wastewater of fifteen wastewater treatment plants (WWTPs) and their fate in a full scale sequencing batch reactor (SBR) based WWTP was evaluated in this study. The four phthalates were diethyl phthalate (DEP), dibutyl phthalate (DBP), benzylbutyl phthalate (BBP) and diethylhexyl phthalate (DEHP). All compounds were present in untreated wastewater with DEHP being present in the highest mean concentration of 28.4 ± 5.3 μg L(-1). The concentration was in the range of 7.3 μg L(-1) (BBP) to 28.4 μg L(-1) (DEHP) in untreated wastewater and 1.3 μg L(-1) (DBP) to 2.6 μg L(-1) (DEHP) in treated wastewater. The nutrient removal process and advance tertiary treatment based WWTPs showed the highest phthalate removal efficiencies of 87% and 93%, respectively. The correlation between phthalate removal and conventional performance of WWTPs was positive. Fate analysis of these phthalates in a SBR based WWTP showed that total removal of the sum of phthalates in a primary settling tank and SBR was 84% out of which 55% is removed by biodegradation and 29% was removed by sorption to primary and secondary sludge. The percentage removal of four phthalates in primary settling tanks was 18%. Comparison of the diluted effluent DEHP concentration with its environmental quality standards showed that the dilution in an effluent receiving water body can reduce the DEHP emissions to acceptable values.