Special Issue "Emerging Contaminants in Water: Is It still a Conundrum?"

A special issue of Toxics (ISSN 2305-6304).

Deadline for manuscript submissions: 31 December 2018

Special Issue Editors

Guest Editor
Dr. Satinder Kaur Brar

Institut national de la recherche scientifique (INRS), Université du Québec, Québec, Canada
Website | E-Mail
Phone: 418 654-3116
Fax: 418 654-2600
Interests: biotechnology; emerging contaminants; waste valorization; biofuels
Co-Guest Editor
Dr. Mehrdad Taheran

Institut national de la recherche scientifique (INRS), Université du Québec, Québec, Canada
E-Mail
Interests: water treatment; membrane filtration; biotechnology; environmental protection

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

The presence of emerging contaminants in water bodies is a topic of concern, both in environmental science and health-care sectors. These contaminants have different origins, such as residues of pharmaceuticals, pesticides, polymeric products, etc., and they end up in wastewater treatment plants, where they are subjected to biodegradation and sorption to biomass. In some cases, the degradation products of these compounds have been reported to be more toxic than the parent compound which indicates the inefficiency of current technologies of wastewater treatment plants. Furthermore, the sorbed portion may be used as a fertilizer, which can lead to contamination of agricultural lands and hence soils.

Considering the potential and established adverse effects of emerging contaminants, the pathway and fate of emerging contaminants need to be thoroughly investigated. The conventional treatment systems have been proved to be inefficient and therefore new methods for degradation and removal of these contaminants and their harmful by-products are required. Additionally, the impacts of the presence of emerging contaminants, i.e., acute toxicity and chronic toxicity, in water and food cycle on human and environment need more attention. Furthermore, emerging contaminants are normally present in complex matrices at very low concentrations and the current techniques for quantification and toxicity assessment are not fast and efficient.

The broad extension of this issue should be focused on the development and application of analytical technologies and treatment methods for the detection, toxicity assessment, and removal of emerging contaminants. Specific attention should be paid to the correlation between the environmentally-relevant levels of these contaminants with toxicological risk and removal efficiency. For treatment methods, toxicity assessment of by-products and analytical method matrix effects should be studied.

Prof. Dr. Satinder Kaur Brar
Dr. Mehrdad Taheran
Guest Editor

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All papers will be peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Toxics is an international peer-reviewed open access quarterly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 350 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

Keywords

  • emerging contaminants
  • wastewater treatment
  • toxicity
  • removal methods
  • micropollutants
  • biodegradation
  • transport and fate
  • water
  • soils

Published Papers (6 papers)

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Research

Open AccessArticle Real-Time Monitoring of Tetraselmis suecica in A Saline Environment as Means of Early Water Pollution Detection
Received: 15 August 2018 / Revised: 20 September 2018 / Accepted: 27 September 2018 / Published: 28 September 2018
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Abstract
Biological water pollution, including organic pollutants and their possible transportation, via biofouling and ballast water, has the potential to cause severe economic and health impacts on society and environment. Current water pollution monitoring methods are limited by transportation of samples to the laboratory
[...] Read more.
Biological water pollution, including organic pollutants and their possible transportation, via biofouling and ballast water, has the potential to cause severe economic and health impacts on society and environment. Current water pollution monitoring methods are limited by transportation of samples to the laboratory for analysis, which could take weeks. There is an urgent need for a water quality monitoring technique that generates real-time data. The study aims to assess the feasibility of three sensing techniques to detect and monitor the concentrations of the model species Tetraselmis suecica in real-time using eleven samples for each method. Results showed UV-Vis spectrophotometer detected increasing concentration of Tetraselmis suecica with R2 = 0.9627 and R2 = 0.9672, at 450 nm and 650 nm wavelengths, respectively. Secondly, low-frequency capacitance measurements showed a linear relationship with increasing concentration of Tetraselmis suecica at 150 Hz (R2 = 0.8463) and 180 Hz (R2 = 0.8391). Finally, a planar electromagnetic wave sensor measuring the reflected power S11 amplitude detected increasing cell density at 4 GHz (R2 = 0.8019). Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Emerging Contaminants in Water: Is It still a Conundrum?)
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Open AccessArticle Monthly Variations in Perfluorinated Compound Concentrations in Groundwater
Received: 11 June 2018 / Revised: 8 September 2018 / Accepted: 12 September 2018 / Published: 14 September 2018
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Abstract
Large-scale manufacturing of poly- and perfluorinated compounds in the second half of the 20th century has led to their ubiquity in the environment, and their unique structure has made them persistent contaminants. A recent drinking water advisory level issued by the United States
[...] Read more.
Large-scale manufacturing of poly- and perfluorinated compounds in the second half of the 20th century has led to their ubiquity in the environment, and their unique structure has made them persistent contaminants. A recent drinking water advisory level issued by the United States Environmental Protection Agency lowered the advisory level concentration of perfluorooctanesulfonic acid (PFOS) and perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA) from 200 nanograms per liter and 400 nanograms per liter, respectively, to 70 nanograms per liter separately or combined. Small temporal variations in PFOS and PFOA concentrations could be the difference between meeting or exceeding the recommended limit. In this study, newly sampled data from a contaminated military site in Alaska and historical data from former Pease Air Force Base were collected. Data were evaluated to determine if monthly variations within PFOS and PFOA existed. No statistically significant temporal trend was observed in the Alaska data, while the results from Pease, although statistically significant, showed the spread of observed contaminant concentrations around the fitted line is broad (as indicated by the low R2 values), indicating that collection date has little value in predicting contaminant concentrations. Though not currently the subject of a US EPA health advisory, data on perfluorobutanesulfonic acid (PFBS), perfluorohexane sulfonic acid (PFHxS), perfluoroheptanoic acid (PFHpA), and perfluorononanoic acid (PFNA) were collected for each site and their average concentrations evaluated. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Emerging Contaminants in Water: Is It still a Conundrum?)
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Open AccessArticle Trace Element Concentrations in Drinking Water and Urine among Saharawi Women and Young Children
Received: 13 June 2018 / Revised: 16 July 2018 / Accepted: 18 July 2018 / Published: 21 July 2018
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Abstract
Poor water quality has been reported along with a variety of negative health outcomes in the Saharawi refugee camps in Algeria. We assessed the concentration of elements in drinking water and urine in refugee women and children. Twenty-four samples of distributed public drinking
[...] Read more.
Poor water quality has been reported along with a variety of negative health outcomes in the Saharawi refugee camps in Algeria. We assessed the concentration of elements in drinking water and urine in refugee women and children. Twenty-four samples of distributed public drinking water were collected, along with urine samples from 77 women and 296 children. Using inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometry, we analyzed water and urine for 31 and 10 elements, respectively. In addition, the water samples were analyzed for five anions by ion-exchange chromatography. Data were described according to two areas: zone 1 with purified water and water with naturally better quality, and zone 2 with only partially purified water. Most elements in drinking water had significantly higher concentration in zone 2 compared with zone 1. Sodium, chloride, nitrite, and nitrate were the parameters that exceeded the WHO Guidelines for Drinking Water Quality. Among both women and children, urinary concentration of vanadium, arsenic, selenium, lead, iodine, and uranium exceeded reference values, and most of the elements were significantly higher in zone 2 compared to zone 1. Even though water purification in the Saharawi refugee camps has increased during the last years, some elements are still exceeding the WHO guidelines for drinking water quality. Moreover, urinary exposure of some elements exceeded reference values from the literature. Further effort should be made to improve the water quality among the Saharawi refugees. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Emerging Contaminants in Water: Is It still a Conundrum?)
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Open AccessArticle Design of Stripping Columns Applied to Drinking Water to Minimize Carcinogenic Risk from Trihalomethanes (THMs)
Received: 22 December 2017 / Revised: 13 March 2018 / Accepted: 15 March 2018 / Published: 19 March 2018
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Abstract
The aim of this study is the application of a software tool to the design of stripping columns to calculate the removal of trihalomethanes (THMs) from drinking water. The tool also allows calculating the rough capital cost of the column and the decrease
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The aim of this study is the application of a software tool to the design of stripping columns to calculate the removal of trihalomethanes (THMs) from drinking water. The tool also allows calculating the rough capital cost of the column and the decrease in carcinogenic risk indeces associated with the elimination of THMs and, thus, the investment to save a human life. The design of stripping columns includes the determination, among other factors, of the height (HOG), the theoretical number of plates (NOG), and the section (S) of the columns based on the study of pressure drop. These results have been compared with THM stripping literature values, showing that simulation is sufficiently conservative. Three case studies were chosen to apply the developed software. The first case study was representative of small-scale application to a community in Córdoba (Spain) where chloroform is predominant and has a low concentration. The second case study was of an intermediate scale in a region in Venezuela, and the third case study was representative of large-scale treatment of water in the Barcelona metropolitan region (Spain). Results showed that case studies with larger scale and higher initial risk offer the best capital investment to decrease the risk. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Emerging Contaminants in Water: Is It still a Conundrum?)
Open AccessArticle Probabilistic Prognosis of Environmental Radioactivity Concentrations due to Radioisotopes Discharged to Water Bodies from Nuclear Power Plants
Received: 11 September 2017 / Revised: 25 October 2017 / Accepted: 30 October 2017 / Published: 15 November 2017
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Abstract
Due to their very low values, the complexity of comparing the contribution of nuclear power plants (NPPs) to environmental radioactivity with modeled values is recognized. In order to compare probabilistic prognosis of radioactivity concentrations with environmental measurement values, an exercise was performed using
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Due to their very low values, the complexity of comparing the contribution of nuclear power plants (NPPs) to environmental radioactivity with modeled values is recognized. In order to compare probabilistic prognosis of radioactivity concentrations with environmental measurement values, an exercise was performed using public data of radioactive routine discharges from three representative Spanish nuclear power plants. Specifically, data on liquid discharges from three Spanish NPPs: Almaraz, Vandellós II, and Ascó to three different aquatic bodies (river, lake, and coast) were used. Results modelled using generic conservative models together with Monte Carlo techniques used for uncertainties propagation were compared with values of radioactivity concentrations in the environment measured in the surroundings of these NPPs. Probability distribution functions were inferred for the source term, used as an input to the model to estimate the radioactivity concentrations in the environment due to discharges to the water bodies. Radioactivity concentrations measured in bottom sediments were used in the exercise due to their accumulation properties. Of all the radioisotopes measured in the environmental monitoring programs around the NPPs, only Cs-137, Sr-90, and Co-60 had positive values greater than their respective detection limits. Of those, Sr-90 and Cs-137 are easily measured in the environment, but significant contribution from the radioactive fall-out due to nuclear explosions in the atmosphere exists, and therefore their values cannot be attributed to the NPPs. On the contrary, Co-60 is especially useful as an indicator of the radioactive discharges from NPPs because its presence in the environment can solely be attributed to the impact of the closer nuclear facilities. All the modelled values for Co-60 showed a reasonable correspondence with measured environmental data in all cases, being conservative in two of them. The more conservative predictions obtained with the models were the activity concentrations in the sediments of a lake (Almaraz) where, on average, values two times higher were obtained. For the case of rivers (Ascó), calculated results were adequately conservative—up to 3.4 times on average. However, the results for coasts (Vandellos II) were in the same range as the environmental measurements, obtaining predictions that are only—at maximum—1.1 times higher than measured values. Only for this specific case of coasts could it be established that the models are not conservative enough, although the results, on average, are relatively close to the real values. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Emerging Contaminants in Water: Is It still a Conundrum?)
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Open AccessArticle Heavy Metal Pollution of Chari River Water during the Crossing of N’Djamena (Chad)
Received: 30 July 2017 / Revised: 5 October 2017 / Accepted: 6 October 2017 / Published: 12 October 2017
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Abstract
This study was carried out to identify and assess the water quality of the Chari River. The Chari, 1200 km long, is Chad’s major water source. Municipal sewage, industrial wastewater discharge, and seasonal run-off from agriculture are regularly fed into the river. Several
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This study was carried out to identify and assess the water quality of the Chari River. The Chari, 1200 km long, is Chad’s major water source. Municipal sewage, industrial wastewater discharge, and seasonal run-off from agriculture are regularly fed into the river. Several trace metals such as Cu, Zn, Fe, Ni, Cr, Mn, and Cd, were measured in different sampling stations located along the Chari River at N’Djamena in different campaigns from 2008 to 2010. Overall, manganese, zinc, chromium, and copper concentration levels were mainly in the range of the permissible limits prescribed by WHO guidelines (WHO 2011). Nickel, iron, and cadmium concentrations were still high. This preliminary study allowed us to identify the magnitude of toxic pollutants, which are responsible for Chari River water contamination in the study area. This study revealed that urgent measures must be taken to protect the local people from health problems resulting from high concentrations of heavy metals. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Emerging Contaminants in Water: Is It still a Conundrum?)
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