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From Municipal Sewage To Drinking Water: Fate And Removal Of Pharmaceutical Residues In The Aquatic Environment In Urban Areas

Th. Heberer, K. Reddersen, A. Mechlinski

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Recently, the occurrence and fate of pharmaceutically active compounds (PhACs) in the aquatic environment was recognized as one of the emerging issues in environmental chemistry and as a matter of public concern. Residues of PhACs have been found as contaminants in sewage, surface, and ground- and drinking water samples. Since June 2000, a new long-term monitoring program of sewage, surface, ground- and drinking water has been carried out in Berlin, Germany. Samples, collected periodically from selected sites in the Berlin area, are investigated for residues of PhACs and related contaminants. The purpose of this monitoring is to investigate these compounds over a long time period to get more reliable data on their occurrence and fate in the different aquatic compartments. Moreover, the surface water investigations allow the calculation of season-dependent contaminant loads in the Berlin waters. In the course of the monitoring program, PhACs and some other polar compounds were detected at concentrations up to the μg/L-level in all compartments of the Berlin water cycle. The monitoring is accompanied and supported by several other investigations such as laboratory column experiments and studies on bank filtration and drinking water treatment using conventional or membrane filtration techniques.