Micropollutant removal in an algal treatment system fed with source separated wastewater streams

  • de Wilt A
  • Butkovskyi A
  • Tuantet K
 et al. 
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Abstract

Micropollutant removal in an algal treatment system fed with source separated wastewater streams was studied. Batch experiments with the microalgae Chlorella sorokiniana grown on urine, anaerobically treated black water and synthetic urine were performed to assess the removal of six spiked pharmaceuticals (diclofenac, ibuprofen, paracetamol, metoprolol, carbamazepine and trimethoprim). Additionally, incorporation of these pharmaceuticals and three estrogens (estrone, 17β-estradiol and ethinylestradiol) into algal biomass was studied. Biodegradation and photolysis led to 60-100% removal of diclofenac, ibuprofen, paracetamol and metoprolol. Removal of carbamazepine and trimethoprim was incomplete and did not exceed 30% and 60%, respectively. Sorption to algal biomass accounted for less than 20% of the micropollutant removal. Furthermore, the presence of micropollutants did not inhibit C. sorokiniana growth at applied concentrations. Algal treatment systems allow simultaneous removal of micropollutants and recovery of nutrients from source separated wastewater. Nutrient rich algal biomass can be harvested and applied as fertilizer in agriculture, as lower input of micropollutants to soil is achieved when algal biomass is applied as fertilizer instead of urine.

Author-supplied keywords

  • Algae
  • Micropollutants
  • Pharmaceuticals
  • Source separation
  • Wastewater

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