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Contamination profiles and mass loadings of macrolide antibiotics and illicit drugs from a small urban wastewater treatment plant
Chemosphere (2009)
  • Bommanna Loganathan, 8093044, Murray State University
  • Malia Phillips, Murray State University
  • Holly Mowery, Murray State University
  • Tammy L. Jones-Lepp, USEPA/ORD/NERL-EMMD, Las Vegas, NV
Abstract
Information is limited regarding sources, distribution, environmental behavior, and fate of prescribed and illicit drugs. Wastewater treatment plant (WWTP) effluents can be one of the sources of pharmaceutical and personal care products (PPCP) into streams, rivers and lakes. The objective of this study was to determine the contamination profiles and mass loadings of urobilin (a chemical marker of human waste), macrolide antibiotics (azithromycin, clarithromycin, roxithromycin), and two drugs of abuse (methamphetamine and ecstasy), from a small (<19 mega liters/ day, equivalent to <5 million gallons per day) wastewater treatment plant in southwestern Kentucky. The concentrations of azithromycin, clarithromycin, methamphetamine and ecstasy in wastewater samples varied widely, ranging from non-detects to 300 ng/L . Among the macrolide antibiotics analyzed, azithromycin was consistently detected in influent and effluent samples. In general, influent samples contained relatively higher concentrations of the analytes than the effluents. Based on the daily flow rates and an average concentration of 17.5 ng/L in the effluent, the estimated discharge of azithromycin was 200 mg/day (range 63– 400 mg/day). Removal efficiency of the detected analytes from this WWTP were in the following order: urobilin > methamphetamine > azithromycin with percentages of removal of 99.9%, 54.5% and 47%, respectively, indicating that the azithromycin and methamphetamine are relatively more recalcitrant than others and have potential for entering receiving waters.
Keywords
  • Antibiotics,
  • Illicit drugs,
  • Contamination,
  • Wastewater Treatment,
  • Kentucky
Publication Date
Winter December, 2009
DOI
doi:10.1016/j.chemosphere.2008.11.047
Citation Information
Loganathan, B.G., Phillips, M., Mowery, H. and Jones-Lepp, T.L. 2009. Contamination profiles and mass loadings of macrolide antibiotics and illicit drugs from a small urban wastewater treatment plant. Chemosphere. 75, 70-77.