Enhanced estrogen removal in activated sludge processes through the optimization of the hydraulic flow pattern.


School of Civil Engineering and Geosciences, Newcastle University, Newcastle upon Tyne, NE1 7RU, United Kingdom. Electronic address: [Email]


The removal of β-estradiol (E2) and α-ethinylestradiol (EE2) in biological wastewater treatment plants (WWTP) would need to be improved in order to comply with prospective Environmental Quality Standards (EQS) of 0.4 and 0.035 ng.L-1 respectively. The effluent concentration of a micropollutant in an activated sludge process is a function of the removal rate, the hydraulic retention time (HRT) and the flow pattern, which is usually overlooked. In order to better understand this aspect, we carried out tracer studies in eight WWTPs in the UK and found that relatively modest changes in aeration tanks would translate into tangible improvements in their flow pattern. We further evaluated the degradation rates for E1 (estrone), E2, E3 (estriol) and EE2 in each WWTP and we estimated that the modification of the flow pattern would be sufficient to place effluent concentrations of E2 (23.2 L∙gVSS-1∙d-1


Activated sludge,Continuously stirred-tank reactor (CSTR),Estrogens,Hydraulic flow optimization,Plug-flow,

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