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Occurrence and fate of perfluorinated compounds in sewage sludge from Spain and Germany



Occurrence and fate of perfluorinated compounds in sewage sludge from Spain and Germany



Environmental Science and Pollution Research International 19(9): 4109-4119



Perfluorinated compounds (PFCs) are persistent and bioaccumulative organic compounds used as additives in many industrial products. After use, these compounds enter wastewater treatment plants (WWTP) and long-chain PFCs are primarily accumulated in sludge. The aim of this study was to determine the occurrence and behavior of five PFCs in sludge from 15 WWTP from Spain and Germany that receive both urban and industrial wastes. The PFCs studied were perfluorooctanesulfonate (PFOS), perfluorohexanesulfonate (PFHxS), perfluorobutanesulfonate (PFBS), perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA), and perfluorononanoic acid (PFNA). One gram of freeze-dried, sieved, and homogenized sludge was extracted using an ultrasonic bath with methanol and glacial acetic acid. After that, the extract was recovered and evaporated to dryness with a TurboVap and then 1 mL of acetonitrile was added and the extract was cleaned up with black carbon. Liquid chromatography coupled to mass spectrometry operated in selected reaction monitoring was used to determine target compounds. Quality parameters are provided for the set of compounds studied. PFCs were detected in all samples. In Spanish sludge, ∑PFC ranged from 0.28 to 5.20 ng/g dry weight (dw) with prevalence of PFOS, while in German sludge, ∑PFC ranged from 20.7 to 38.6 ng/g dw and PFBS was the dominant compound. As a next step, the evolution of PFC concentrations within the sludge treatment steps (primary sludge, anaerobic digested sludge, and centrifuged sludge) was evaluated and differences among levels and patterns were observed and were attributed to the influent water quality and treatment used. Finally, we estimated the amount of PFCs discharged via sludge in order to determine the potential impact to the environment according to different sludge usage practices in the two regions investigated. This manuscript provided an intra-European overview of PFC distribution in sludge. Levels and compound distribution depend on the WWTP sampled. This study demonstrates that PFCs are persistent to sludge treatment and the loads in sludge may pose a future environmental risk, if not controlled.

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Accession: 036519238

Download citation: RISBibTeXText

PMID: 22847336

DOI: 10.1007/s11356-012-1078-7


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