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Screening of Coagulants for the Removal of Pharmaceuticals and Personal Care Products
AuthorPierce, Kyle D.
Civil and Environmental Engineering
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Treatment and removal of 98 pharmaceuticals and personal care products (PPCPs) from the secondary effluent of two water reclamation facilities (WRFs) was evaluated using the coagulation process. The plants include Truckee Meadows Water Reclamation Facility (TMWRF) and South Truckee Meadows Water Reclamation Facility (STMWRF) located in Reno-Sparks Metropolitan Area. TMWRF supplies effluent for limited agricultural use, and STMWRF supplies 100% of its effluent for landscape and golf course irrigation. The goal of this research was to investigate whether coagulation could be a feasible strategy for reducing PPCPs in the effluent for agricultural reuse of effluents. The four coagulants tested were aluminum sulfate (alum), ferric chloride (ferric), PAX-XL8, and EC-309. A correlation between the removal of dissolved organic carbon (DOC) and the removal of PPCPs was investigated. It was found that no correlation exists between the removal of DOC and PPCPs. Alum achieved the highest removal efficiencies of certain PPCPs including 1,7dimethylxanthine, 4-nonylphenol, 4-tert-octylphenol, butalbital, ibuprofen, and warfarin at over 50% from the TMWRF secondary effluent. However, alum removed on average the least amount of DOC from TMWRF effluent. Ferric achieved the highest DOC removal, removing on average 2.3 and 3.4 mg/L of DOC from STMWRF and TMWRF effluents, respectively. Higher removal of DOC and PPCPs were achieved while experimenting on the secondary effluent from TMWRF. From the STMWRF secondary effluent, Bisphenol A (BPA) was able to be removed up to 77% by both alum and ferric, but no other PPCPs removal efficiencies were higher than 50%. Coagulation is successful at removing DOC but does not show high enough removal efficiencies to be a stand-alone process for the removal of PPCPs for the reuse of wastewater for agricultural purposes. If WRFs include coagulation of secondary effluents in their treatment trains for other purposes such as P removal, trace organics removal, and reduction of DOC, coagulation can provide additional benefit of some PPCP removal at appreciable levels.