Emerging pollutants: their analysis, occurrence and removal in\ud aquatic environments
The input of emerging pollutants into the natural environment is of considerable concern due to their potential implications for the health and development of humans and wildlife. Knowledge of the occurrence and removal (by sewage treatment) of these chemicals is limited and there is a need for these to be investigated if the transport and fate of these chemicals is to be better understood. To develop our understanding, reliable, accurate and precise measurements of these compounds at the very low (often sub-nanogram) concentrations at which they may be found, and may still be toxic, is crucial. However, as a result of the increasing international concern, increasing research attention has led to a large number of analytical techniques described as being suitable for the analysis of these compounds; this fragmentation and lack of collaborative focus is likely to have resulted in a lack of refinement of the techniques employed. In this research, a number of these proposed analytical and sample pre-treatment techniques have been assessed, both by internal experimentation and through inter-calibration with collaborating laboratories, to identify which techniques are best suited to further development for research in this area, and have subsequently been optimised, to examine the removal efficacy of traditional and novel sewage treatment techniques, and to monitor EDC and Pharmaceutical concentrations in several UK rivers.\ud Monitoring of the river Ray, Swindon, UK over a period of three years, using spot-sampling and 24-hour and 7-day integrated sampling, combined with solid-phase extraction (SPE) followed mass spectrometric analyses, showed stable EDC and pharmaceutical levels, typical of comparable rivers throughout the EU, but with a significant reduction in concentrations after the installation of a granular activated charcoal plant at the Rodbourne Sewage Treatment Works (STW) of which the river Ray is a conduit. These results were in agreement with results from analyses biological assays, such as yeast estrogen screening performed independently by another laboratory.
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