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Exclusion of Estrogenic and Androgenic Steroid Hormones from Municipal Membrane Bioreactor Wastewater Using UF/NF/RO Membranes for Water Reuse Application

Faculty of Engineering and the Built Environment, Department of Chemical Engineering, Cape Peninsula University of Technology, Bellville, Cape Town 7435, South Africa
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Membranes 2020, 10(3), 37; https://doi.org/10.3390/membranes10030037
Received: 22 December 2019 / Revised: 18 February 2020 / Accepted: 20 February 2020 / Published: 27 February 2020
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Advances in Reverse Osmosis Membranes and Processes)
In the context of water scarcity, domestic secondary effluent reuse may be an option as a reliable source for alleviating acute water shortage. The increasing risks linked with the presence of natural steroid hormones and many emerging anthropogenic micropollutants (MPs) passing through municipal wastewater treatment works (MWWTWs) are of concern for their endocrine-disrupting activities. In this study, domestic wastewater treated by a full-scale membrane bioreactor (MBR) at an MWWTW in the Western Cape Province, South Africa, was used directly as the influent to a reverse osmosis (RO) pilot plant for the removal of selected natural steroid hormones 17β-estradiol (E2) and testosterone (T) as a potential indirect water recycling application. Estrogenicity and androgenicity were assessed using the enzyme-linked immunosorbent assays (ELISA) and the recombinant yeast estrogen receptor binding assays (YES). The influent pH and flux did not influence the rejection of E2 and T, which was most likely due to adsorption, size exclusion, and diffusion simultaneously. RO and nanofiltration (NF) exhibited excellent removal rates (>95%) for E2 and T. All the E2 effluent samples with MBR/ultrafiltration (UF), MBR/NF, and MBR/RO were lower than the US EPA and WHO trigger value of 0.7 ng/L, as well as the predicted no-effect concentration (PNEC) values for fish (1 ng E2/L). View Full-Text
Keywords: membrane bioreactor (MBR); ultrafiltration (UF); nanofiltration (NF); reverse osmosis (RO); androgen; estrogen; steroid hormones; level of detection (LOD); micro pollutions (MPs); predicted no-effect concentration (PNEC) membrane bioreactor (MBR); ultrafiltration (UF); nanofiltration (NF); reverse osmosis (RO); androgen; estrogen; steroid hormones; level of detection (LOD); micro pollutions (MPs); predicted no-effect concentration (PNEC)
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MDPI and ACS Style

Aziz, M.; Ojumu, T. Exclusion of Estrogenic and Androgenic Steroid Hormones from Municipal Membrane Bioreactor Wastewater Using UF/NF/RO Membranes for Water Reuse Application. Membranes 2020, 10, 37.

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