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Analysis and modeling of residual compounds in process streams from U.S. wastewater treatment plants

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The presence of compounds such as pharmaceuticals and personal care products (PPCPs) in the environment is a cause for concern as they exhibit secondary effects on non-target organisms and are also indicative of incomplete removal by wastewater treatment plants (WWTPs)

The presence of compounds such as pharmaceuticals and personal care products (PPCPs) in the environment is a cause for concern as they exhibit secondary effects on non-target organisms and are also indicative of incomplete removal by wastewater treatment plants (WWTPs) during water reclamation. Analytical methods and predictive models can help inform on the rates at which these contaminants enter the environment via biosolids use or wastewater effluent release to estimate the risk of adverse effects. The goals of this research project were to integrate the results obtained from the two different methods of risk assessment, (a) in silico modeling and (b) experimental analysis. Using a previously published empirical model, influent and effluent concentration ranges were predicted for 10 sterols and validated with peer-reviewed literature. The in silico risk assessment analysis performed for sterols and hormones in biosolids concluded that hormones possess high leaching potentials and that particularly 17-α-ethinyl estradiol (EE2) can pose significant threat to fathead minnows (P. promelas) via leaching from terrestrial depositions of biosolids. Six mega-composite biosolids samples representative of 94 WWTPs were analyzed for a suite of 120 PPCPs using the extended U.S. EPA Method 1694 protocol. Results indicated the presence of 26 previously unmonitored PPCPs in the samples with estimated annual release rates of 5-15 tons yr-1 via land application of biosolids. A mesocosm sampling analysis that was included in the study concluded that four compounds amitriptyline, paroxetine, propranolol and sertraline warrant further monitoring due to their high release rates from land applied biosolids and their calculated extended half-lives in soils. There is a growing interest in the scientific community towards the development of new analytical protocols for analyzing solid matrices such as biosolids for the presence of PPCPs and other established and emerging contaminants of concern. The two studies presented here are timely and an important addition to the increasing base of scientific articles regarding environmental release of PPCPs and exposure risks associated with biosolids land application. This research study emphasizes the need for coupling experimental results with predictive analytical modeling output in order to more fully assess the risks posed by compounds detected in biosolids.

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2012

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Exploring additional dehalogenation abilities of DehaloR̂2, a previously characterized, trichloroethene-degrading microbial consortium

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DehaloR^2 is a previously characterized, trichloroethene (TCE)-dechlorinating culture and contains bacteria from the known dechlorinating genus, Dehalococcoides. DehaloR^2 was exposed to three anthropogenic contaminants, Triclocarban (TCC), tris(2-chloroethyl) phosphate (TCEP), and 1,1,1-trichloroethane (TCA) and two biogenic-like halogenated compounds, 2,6-dibromophenol (2,6-DBP) and

DehaloR^2 is a previously characterized, trichloroethene (TCE)-dechlorinating culture and contains bacteria from the known dechlorinating genus, Dehalococcoides. DehaloR^2 was exposed to three anthropogenic contaminants, Triclocarban (TCC), tris(2-chloroethyl) phosphate (TCEP), and 1,1,1-trichloroethane (TCA) and two biogenic-like halogenated compounds, 2,6-dibromophenol (2,6-DBP) and 2,6-dichlorophenol (2,6-DCP). The effects on TCE dechlorination ability due to 2,6-DBP and 2,6-DCP exposures were also investigated. DehaloR^2 did not dechlorinate TCC or TCEP. After initial exposure to TCA, half of the initial TCA was dechlorinated to 1,1-dichloroethane (DCA), however half of the TCA remained by day 100. Subsequent TCA and TCE re-exposure showed no reductive dechlorination activity for both TCA and TCE by 120 days after the re-exposure. It has been hypothesized that the microbial TCE-dechlorinating ability was developed before TCE became abundant in groundwater. This dechlorinating ability would have existed in the microbial metabolism due to previous exposure to biogenic halogenated compounds. After observing the inability of DehaloR^2 to dechlorinate other anthropogenic compounds, DehaloR^2 was then exposed to two naturally occurring halogenated phenols, 2,6-DBP and 2,6-DCP, in the presence and absence of TCE. DehaloR^2 debrominated 2,6-DBP through the intermediate 2-bromophenol (2-BP) to the end product phenol faster in the presence of TCE. DehaloR^2 dechlorinated 2,6-DCP to 2-CP in the absence of TCE; however, 2,6-DCP dechlorination was incomplete in the presence of TCE. Additionally, when 2,6-DBP was present, complete TCE dechlorination to ethene occurred more quickly than when TCE was present without 2,6-DBP. However, when 2,6-DCP was present, TCE dechlorination to ethene had not completed by day 55. The increased dehalogenation rate of 2,6-DBP and TCE when present together compared to conditions containing only 2,6-DBP or only TCE suggests a possible synergistic relationship between 2,6-DBP and TCE, while the decreased dechlorination rate of 2,6-DCP and TCE when present together compared to conditions containing only 2,6-DCP or only TCE suggests an inhibitory effect.

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2012

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Analysis of Chlorination & UV Effects on Microplastics Using Raman Spectroscopy.

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Microplastics are emerging to be major problem when it comes to water pollution and they pose a great threat to marine life. These materials have the potential to affect a wide range of human population since humans are the major

Microplastics are emerging to be major problem when it comes to water pollution and they pose a great threat to marine life. These materials have the potential to affect a wide range of human population since humans are the major consumers of marine organisms. Microplastics are less than 5 mm in diameter, and can escape from traditional wastewater treatment plant (WWTP) processes and end up in our water sources. Due to their small size, they have a large surface area and can react with chlorine, which it encounters in the final stages of WWTP. After the microplastics accumulate in various bodies of water, they are exposed to sunlight, which contains oxidative ultraviolet (UV) light. Since the microplastics are exposed to oxidants during and after the treatment, there is a strong chance that they will undergo chemical and/or physical changes. The WWTP conditions were replicated in the lab by varying the concentrations of chlorine from 70 to 100 mg/L in increments of 10 mg/L and incubating the samples in chlorine baths for 1–9 days. The chlorinated samples were tested for any structural changes using Raman spectroscopy. High density polyethylene (HDPE), polystyrene (PS), and polypropylene (PP) were treated in chlorine baths and observed for Raman intensity variations, Raman peak shifts, and the formation of new peaks over different exposure times. HDPE responded with a lot of oxidation peaks and shifts of peaks after just one day. For the degradation of semi-crystalline polymers, there was a reduction in crystallinity, as verified by thermal analysis. There was a decrease in the enthalpy of melting as well as the melting temperature with an increase in the exposure time or chlorine concentration, which pointed at the degradation of plastics and bond cleavages. To test the plastic response to

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UV, the samples were exposed to sunlight for up to 210 days and analyzed under Raman spectroscopy. Overall the physical and chemical changes with the polymers are evident and makes a way for the wastewater treatment plant to take necessary steps to capture the microplastics to avoid the release of any kind of degraded microplastics that could affect marine life and the environment.

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Date Created
2017

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Geochemical analysis of the leachate generated after zero valent metals addition to municipal solid waste

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Zero-Valent Metals (ZVM) are highly reactive materials and have been proved to be effective in contaminant reduction in soils and groundwater remediation. In fact, zero-Valent Iron (ZVI) has proven to be very effective in removing, particularly chlorinated organics, heavy metals,

Zero-Valent Metals (ZVM) are highly reactive materials and have been proved to be effective in contaminant reduction in soils and groundwater remediation. In fact, zero-Valent Iron (ZVI) has proven to be very effective in removing, particularly chlorinated organics, heavy metals, and odorous sulfides. Addition of ZVI has also been proved in enhancing the methane gas generation in anaerobic digestion of activated sludge. However, no studies have been conducted regarding the effect of ZVM stimulation to Municipal Solid Waste (MSW) degradation. Therefore, a collaborative study was developed to manipulate microbial activity in the landfill bioreactors to favor methane production by adding ZVMs. This study focuses on evaluating the effects of added ZVM on the leachate generated from replicated lab scale landfill bioreactors. The specific objective was to investigate the effects of ZVMs addition on the organic and inorganic pollutants in leachate. The hypothesis here evaluated was that adding ZVM including ZVI and Zero Valent Manganese (ZVMn) will enhance the removal rates of the organic pollutants present in the leachate, likely by a putative higher rate of microbial metabolism. Test with six (4.23 gallons) bioreactors assembled with MSW collected from the Salt River Landfill and Southwest Regional Landfill showed that under 5 grams /liter of ZVI and 0.625 grams/liter of ZVMn additions, no significant difference was observed in the pH and temperature data of the leachate generated from these reactors. The conductivity data suggested the steady rise across all reactors over the period of time. The removal efficiency of sCOD was highest (27.112 mg/lit/day) for the reactors added with ZVMn at the end of 150 days for bottom layer, however the removal rate was highest (16.955 mg/lit/day) for ZVI after the end of 150 days of the middle layer. Similar trends in the results was observed in TC analysis. HPLC study indicated the dominance of the concentration of heptanoate and isovalerate were leachate generated from the bottom layer across all reactors. Heptanoate continued to dominate in the ZVMn added leachate even after middle layer injection. IC analysis concluded the chloride was dominant in the leachate generated from all the reactors and there was a steady increase in the chloride content over the period of time. Along with chloride, fluoride, bromide, nitrate, nitrite, phosphate and sulfate were also detected in considerable concentrations. In the summary, the addition of the zero valent metals has proved to be efficient in removal of the organics present in the leachate.

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Date Created
2019