Evaluation of emerging contaminants in a drinking water treatment plant using electrodialysis reversal technology

Emerging contaminants (EC) have gained much attention with globally increasing consumption and detection in aquatic ecosystems during the last two decades from ng/L to lower ug/L. The aim of this study was to evaluate the occurrence and removal of pharmaceutically active compounds (PhACs), endocrine disrupting chemicals (EDCs) and related compounds in a Drinking Water Treatment Plant (DWTP) treating raw water from the Mediterranean Llobregat River. The DWTP combined conventional treatment steps with the world’s largest electrodialysis reversal (EDR) facility. 49 different PhACs, EDCs and related compounds were found above their limit of quantification in the influent of the DWTP, summing up to a total concentration of ECs between 1600–4200 ng/L. As expected, oxidation using chlorine dioxide and granular activated carbon filters were the most efficient technologies for EC removal. However, despite the low concentration detected in the influent of the EDR process, it was also possible to demonstrate that this process partially removed ionized compounds, thereby constituting an additional barrier against EC pollution in the product. In the product of the EDR system, only 18 out of 49 compounds were quantifiable in at least one of the four experimental campaigns, showing in all cases removals higher than 65% and often beyond 90% for the overall DWTP process.

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Laboratory of Chemical and Enviromental Engineering

Institut de Medi Ambient
Universitat de Girona
Campus Montilivi
17003 Girona

Parc Científic i Tecnològic de la UdG
Edifici Jaume Casademont, Porta B
Pic de Peguera, 15
17003 Girona
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