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Evaluation of a bark adsobent for removal of pharmaceuticals from wastewater
2017 (English)Independent thesis Advanced level (professional degree), 20 credits / 30 HE creditsStudent thesis
Abstract [en]

During and after medical treatment, pharmaceutical compounds as well as their metabolites

and conjugates are excreted from the users through urine and feces. The pharmaceuticals

end up in wastewater treatment plants, which are not designed to deal with this

kind of organic micro-pollutant. Eventually the pharmaceuticals end up in the environment

where they can have adverse physiological and behavioral effects on aquatic life

and could contribute to the spread of antibiotic resistance among microorganisms. Adsorption

to activated carbon is an established method for removal of pharmaceuticals

from wastewater. It is however quite expensive and it is of interest to identify cost-effective

alternatives. One possible alternative is bark, which is a common by-product

from forest industry and has a complex microstructure and high porosity compared to

many other naturally occurring materials.

In order to investigate the potential of using bark to remove pharmaceuticals from municipal

wastewater four column filters were built, two with activated carbon and two

with bark. They were used in an experiment conducted at Kungsängsverket, the largest

wastewater treatment plant in Uppsala municipality. The objectives were to assess pharmaceutical

concentrations in treated wastewater at Kungsängsverket and to compare the

performance of bark and activated carbon filters under different loading rates. During

this time the filters were run at different loading rates and two different types of bark

was used. 24 common pharmaceuticals from different therapeutic groups were targeted.

The pharmaceutical concentrations measured at Kungsängsverket were generally low,

but mean concentrations of five pharmaceuticals (atenolol, metoprolol, furosemide, hydrochlorothizide

and diclofenac) exceeded 250 ng/l. Out of these, four have been shown

to have adverse effects on aquatic life and it would be preferable if they were not released

into the recipient.

Bark was not as good at removing pharmaceuticals from wastewater as activated carbon

was, but decent removal rates were achieved for several compounds. The removal rates

of either filter type did not seem to be significantly impacted by variations in loading

rate or bark size. The concentrations of a few compounds increased after treatment with

the bark filters and the reason for this is not clear. One possibility is interference from

other organic substances in the wastewater or the bark, but determining the reason for

this increase should be a priority for any further research on the subject.

Another problem encountered during the project that is likely to pose a problem for future

implementation is that the bark filters were very sensitive to clogging. Running the

filters at full scale would require frequent back-washing which would be a disadvantage

from both economical and practical reasons.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2017.
Series
UPTEC W, ISSN 1401-5765 ; W 17 001
Keywords [en]
wastewater treatment, pharmaceuticals, activated carbon, bark, adsorption
Keywords [sv]
avloppsvattenrening, läkemedel, aktivt kol, bark, adsorption
National Category
Water Treatment Engineering and Technology
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-315260OAI: oai:DiVA.org:uu-315260DiVA, id: diva2:1073631
Educational program
Master Programme in Environmental and Water Engineering
Supervisors
Examiners
Available from: 2017-02-14 Created: 2017-02-12 Last updated: 2017-02-14Bibliographically approved

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CiteExportLink to record
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Citation style
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