Date of Award
Doctor of Philosophy
Todd R Miller
Michael Laiosa, Kurt Svoboda, Joe Piatt, Curtis Hedman
Antibiotics, Opioids, PPCPs, Recreational drugs, WWTPs
DETECTION OF PHARMACEUTICALS AND PERSONAL CARE PRODUCTS (PPCPS) AND ILLICIT DRUGS IN WASTEWATER TREATMENT PLANTS AND URBAN RIVER SYSTEMS
by Mary L Seaman The University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, 2023 Under the Supervision of Professor Todd Miller, PhD
Pharmaceuticals, personal care products (PPCPs) and illicit drugs are a threat to human health and the aquatic environment globally. Their usage and consumption is rapidly increasing potentially due to an aging population, the development of new drugs, the overprescribing of prescription drugs and easier accessibility of drugs legally and illegally prescribed. These compounds enter wastewater treatment plants influent through urine or feces, pass through the stages of treatment with some compounds not being removed and ending up in the effluent and ultimately in the aquatic environment. In addition to human consumption, PPCPs are introduced into the environment through veterinary use from livestock, and where concentrated animal feeding operations (CAFOs) are located. Wastewater treatment plants (WWTPs) effluent are the major source of these compounds into the environment. The wastewater effluent is discharged into rivers, streams, or lake systems, and the biosolids are spread on fields for fertilizer. WWTPs are known to not adequately remove these compounds and as a result there is a continuous supply of these compounds to the environment. There are few studies on the long-term effects of these compounds in the environment. The contaminants most often detected in wastewater treatment effluent are antibiotics, epileptic drugs, analgesics, herbicides, opioids, and recreational drugs. This dissertation uses an alternative extraction method compared to the standard solid phase extraction (SPE) method used in most of the literature. In Chapters 2 and 3, sixty diverse compounds were analyzed from samples taken from influent, effluent, surface water and sludge from two WWTPs that discharge their effluent into the largest freshwater lake in the State of Wisconsin. Data were further analyzed by percent remaining, removal efficiency and seasonality. Chapter 4 surveyed PPCPs and illicit drugs from six urban river systems, using the alternative extraction method from Chapters 2 and 3. In addition, removal efficiency, percent remaining, and seasonality were also studied. There is an increasing trend towards urbanization and lifestyle changes, increasing health ailments such as cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and illicit drug use. With rapid urbanization, brings about an increase in contamination of water. The PPCPs and illicit drugs may be transferred to the water by rainfall, climate changes, infrastructure breakdown of private sceptic systems, and release of gray water. Stressors in the surrounding water environment may be channel form, cement encasements, the type of community surrounding the water whether it be industrial, manufacturing, agricultural, retail, etc.The alternative extraction method was successful in detecting the 60 diverse compounds but there were limitations on percent recovery values for certain compounds.
Seaman, Mary L., "Detection of Pharmaceuticals, Personal Care Products (PPCPS) and Illicit Drugs in Wastewater Treatment Plants and Urban River Systems" (2023). Theses and Dissertations. 3347.