Diphenylamine antioxidants (DPAs) are widely used industrial chemicals. Wastewater effluents and biosolids are important pathways for DPAs to enter the environment. Information on the fate of DPAs in wastewater treatment plants (WWTPs) and their environmental releases is limited. In this study, we characterized the occurrence, removal efficiencies, distribution, mass balance, and environmental releases of 17 DPAs in ten Canadian WWTPs and four landfill sites from 2013 to 2015. These WWTPs are different in sizes, and treatment technologies. Median concentrations of ΣDPAs were 78 ng/L in influent, 6.9 ng/L in effluent, 326 ng/L in leachate, and 445 ng/g in biosolids (dry weight), respectively. Diphenylamine (DPA) and ditertoctyl-diphenylamine (DTO-DPA) were the predominant congeners of DPAs in all the matrices. Residues of DPAs were not completely removed during wastewater treatment processes: most DPAs were detected in at least one sample of WWTP effluent with the highest concentration of 117 ng/L (DPA). Overall, high removal efficiencies (median > 90%) of most of the DPAs were observed in the secondary and advanced treatment, as well as in the facultative and aerated lagoons. In contrast, primary treatment exhibited a lower removal efficiency of the DPAs. Mass balance analysis shows that sorption to biosolids is the major removal pathway of DPAs in WWTPs. The results also highlight that environmental releases of DPAs via biosolid applications (70 mg/d/1000 people) can be over several times higher than that via wastewater effluent (2.5-36 mg/d/1000 people).
Authors: Zi-Feng Zhang, Xue Zhang, Xianming Zhang, Ed Sverko, Shirley Anne Smyth, Yi-Fan Li
; Full Source: Water research 2020 Nov 3;189:116602. doi: 10.1016/j.watres.2020.116602.