Occurrence of Pharmaceuticals in Water and Their Removal Technologies

A special issue of Water (ISSN 2073-4441). This special issue belongs to the section "Wastewater Treatment and Reuse".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (20 January 2024) | Viewed by 5315

Special Issue Editors


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Guest Editor
Faculdade de Engenharia, Universidade do Porto, Porto, Portugal
Interests: trace analysis of emerging pollutants; occupational exposure; risk assessment; advanced oxidation processes; membrane separation and adsorption

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Guest Editor
Faculdade de Engenharia, Universidade do Porto, Porto, Portugal
Interests: occurrence and distribution of multi-class organic micropollutants in water/wastewater; analytical tools for determination of organic micropollutants; identification of by-products; advanced oxidation processes: membrane technologies
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Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Pharmaceuticals enter the water cycle during their manufacture, use and disposal. Their constant discharge into the sewage system, the lack of effective treatment approaches in wastewater treatment plants, and their bioaccumulation and biomagnification potential may have critical consequences for environmental and human health. Significantly, pharmaceuticals have been detected in rivers at concentrations above those considered safe for aquatic organisms, or at levels associated with antimicrobial resistance, posing a global threat to human health, as well as environmental integrity, resilience and sustainability.

Knowledge on the occurrence of pharmaceuticals in the water cycle and on their fingerprints across the world is crucial to obtain a global perspective of the problem, and thus prioritize solutions. To tackle the problem, cutting-edge and effective treatment approaches need to be implemented prior to the discharge or reuse of waters contaminated with pharmaceuticals.

In light of the challenges mentioned above, this Special Issue will focus on original articles or review articles addressing the following topics (however, this list is by no means exhaustive):

  • The occurrence of pharmaceuticals in aquatic matrices (wastewater, surface/ground water, and drinking water): antineoplastic drugs; immunosuppressants; antibiotics; antifungals; antivirals; nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs; anticonvulsants; β-blockers, etc.
  • Wastewater treatment: advanced oxidation technologies (AOTs such as UV-based technologies (e.g., UV/H2O2, UV/Cl); Fenton and photo-Fenton processes; TiOphotocatalysis; ozone-based processes; etc.); membrane separation; biological treatments; adsorption; coupling technologies; and advances in materials, catalysts, and methods of AOTs for water treatment.

Dr. Mónica Santos
Dr. Ana Rita Lado Ribeiro
Guest Editors

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Keywords

  • pharmaceutical pollution
  • water treatment
  • advanced oxidation technologies
  • membrane processes
  • adsorption
  • biological treatments
  • advanced materials

Published Papers (4 papers)

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Research

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19 pages, 2115 KiB  
Article
Transport and Attenuation of an Artificial Sweetener and Six Pharmaceutical Compounds in a Sequenced Wetland-Steel Slag Wastewater Treatment System
by Syed I. Hussain, Carol J. Ptacek, David W. Blowes, YingYing Liu, Brent C. Wootton, Gordon Balch and James Higgins
Water 2023, 15(15), 2835; https://doi.org/10.3390/w15152835 - 05 Aug 2023
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Abstract
The occurrence of pharmaceutically active compounds (PhACs), nutrients, and an artificial sweetener acesulfame in wastewater, and subsequent removal in an engineered system comprising aerobic wetland, anaerobic wetland, and steel slag cells, were investigated. The PhACs evaluated in this study covered a range of [...] Read more.
The occurrence of pharmaceutically active compounds (PhACs), nutrients, and an artificial sweetener acesulfame in wastewater, and subsequent removal in an engineered system comprising aerobic wetland, anaerobic wetland, and steel slag cells, were investigated. The PhACs evaluated in this study covered a range of octanol–water partition coefficients (log Kow = 0.07–2.45) and acid dissociation constants (pKa = 1.7–13.9) and included carbamazepine, caffeine, sulfamethoxazole, ibuprofen, and naproxen. The mean flow rate in the system was 0.89 m3 day−1 (0.02 to 4.27 m3 day−1), representing a hydraulic retention time of 5 days. The removal efficiencies of PO4-P, NH3-N, and cBOD5 in the treatment system were >99, 82, and 98%. The removal efficiencies for the PhACs and acesulfame were classified into four groups, including those that were (a) efficiently removed (caffeine by >75%); (b) moderately removed (ibuprofen by 50–75%); (c) poorly removed (sulfamethoxazole and naproxen by 25–50%); and (d) recalcitrant (carbamazepine and acesulfame by <25%). Variability in concentrations and treatment efficiencies was observed in different sampling events, which may be due to variations in input concentrations or changes in the flow rate. The addition of a steel slag cell increased the overall removal efficiency of the studied compounds, except for carbamazepine. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Occurrence of Pharmaceuticals in Water and Their Removal Technologies)
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12 pages, 2619 KiB  
Article
The Pharmaceutical Pollution of Water Resources Using the Example of the Kura River (Tbilisi, Georgia)
by David Gurgenidze and Valentin Romanovski
Water 2023, 15(14), 2574; https://doi.org/10.3390/w15142574 - 14 Jul 2023
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 1500
Abstract
This article addresses the issues of pharmaceutical pollution of the Kura River. Existing published information on the pollution of the world’s rivers and rivers in Georgia was analyzed. Based on laboratory studies of water samples within the city of Tbilisi, which were carried [...] Read more.
This article addresses the issues of pharmaceutical pollution of the Kura River. Existing published information on the pollution of the world’s rivers and rivers in Georgia was analyzed. Based on laboratory studies of water samples within the city of Tbilisi, which were carried out to identify psychostimulating and analeptic drugs, antibiotics of the macrolide group, nicotine, and analgesic–antipyretics, the places with the highest levels of pollution were identified. Based on the analysis of the dynamics of growth in the sales of pharmaceuticals in the world and Georgia, empirical dependencies were obtained for predicting the growth in sales as an indirect factor that indicates an increase in the pollution of natural water sources. Particular attention is paid to improving the legislative framework for the disposal of products of industrial production sectors that are related to medicine, human health, and agriculture. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Occurrence of Pharmaceuticals in Water and Their Removal Technologies)
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14 pages, 524 KiB  
Article
Halogenation of Pharmaceuticals Is an Impediment to Ready Biodegradability
by Jürg Oliver Straub, Julien Le Roux and Damien Tedoldi
Water 2023, 15(13), 2430; https://doi.org/10.3390/w15132430 - 30 Jun 2023
Viewed by 1251
Abstract
For pharmacological reasons many active organic pharmaceutical substances (AOPSs) are singly or multiply halogenated. Halogenation can confer optimised steric fitting of an AOPS to its molecular receptor; moreover, by increasing the lipophilicity of a compound, passive permeation through bilipid membranes into target cells [...] Read more.
For pharmacological reasons many active organic pharmaceutical substances (AOPSs) are singly or multiply halogenated. Halogenation can confer optimised steric fitting of an AOPS to its molecular receptor; moreover, by increasing the lipophilicity of a compound, passive permeation through bilipid membranes into target cells is enhanced. As halogenation is widely suspected to inhibit biodegradability in wastewater treatment plants, the relationship of halogenation vs. ready biodegradability was investigated. Among 230 AOPSs with empirical ready biodegradability data, all 70 halogenated AOPSs are not readily biodegradable, and halogenation is confirmed to be an impediment to ready biodegradability. As a counterexample to halogenation, hydrophilic substitutions (hydroxy, carboxylic-acid or terminal-amine groups) are positively correlated with ready biodegradability. Regarding halogenation, therefore, pharmacological goals stand in stark contrast to environmental goals. Possible ideas toward solutions for this contradiction are discussed. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Occurrence of Pharmaceuticals in Water and Their Removal Technologies)
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Review

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19 pages, 490 KiB  
Review
Adsorption Technologies for the Removal of Cytostatics in Water: A Review
by Alicia L. Garcia-Costa, Teresa I. A. Gouveia, Arminda Alves and Mónica S. F. Santos
Water 2023, 15(22), 4005; https://doi.org/10.3390/w15224005 - 17 Nov 2023
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Abstract
One of the most common treatments for cancer disease requires the administration of cytostatics, which are very effective drugs in the elimination of cancerous cells, but are toxic for healthy tissues. After being administered to patients, they are excreted and frequently reach natural [...] Read more.
One of the most common treatments for cancer disease requires the administration of cytostatics, which are very effective drugs in the elimination of cancerous cells, but are toxic for healthy tissues. After being administered to patients, they are excreted and frequently reach natural water bodies, due to their poor degradation in wastewater treatment plants (WWTPs), posing a global threat to the environment and human health. The study of proper treatment approaches for the effective removal of these hazardous drugs in WWTPs is thus a topic of concern and of utmost importance to ensure environmental integrity, resilience and sustainability. The aim of this work is to perform a comprehensive review of the application of adsorption-based processes for the treatment of aqueous matrices contaminated with cytostatics, which has never been addressed before. A detailed discussion on the operating conditions, type and concentrations of sorbents used, toxicity of the effluents and other relevant parameters is presented. This paper aims to help identify the most promising sorbents and conditions, the current knowledge gaps, and future challenges/perspectives on adsorption technologies (isolated or coupled with other processes) to tackle the problem of cytostatic fingerprints in water courses. Additionally, information concerning the implementation of these technologies from an environmental and economic (life cycle assessment) perspective is given. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Occurrence of Pharmaceuticals in Water and Their Removal Technologies)
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