Analytical and Bioanalytical Chemistry

, Volume 385, Issue 6, pp 992–1000 | Cite as

Chemical monitoring and occurrence of alkylphenols, alkylphenol ethoxylates, alcohol ethoxylates, phthalates and benzothiazoles in sewage treatment plants and receiving waters along the Ter River basin (Catalonia, N. E. Spain)

  • Raquel Céspedes
  • Sílvia Lacorte
  • Antonio Ginebreda
  • Damià Barceló
Special Issue Paper


This study presents a quantitative estimation of the analysis and fate of several emerging pollutants, some of them endocrine-disrupting compounds, in surface water samples collected at several locations along the Ter River and two of its tributaries. Influent and effluent waters and particulate matter from five sewage treatment plants (STP) that discharge into these rivers were also studied. The target compounds analyzed were: nonylphenol ethoxylates (NPEO), nonylphenol (NP), octylphenol (OP), bisphenol A (BPA), phthalates, alcohol ethoxylates (AEO) and benzothiazoles. Chemical analysis by liquid chromatography–mass spectrometry using an electrospray interface (LC–ESI–MS) revealed the presence of low amounts (between 0.06 and 17.5 μg L−1) of the target compounds NPE1+2O and NP, which were detected in 100% and 84% of the samples respectively. Maximum concentrations occurred in the STPs associated with the municipalities of Vic and Girona. From the fate and behavior data obtained for the various compounds analyzed in the STP influent and effluent, we can conclude that the STPs are effective at removing large amounts (more than 70%) of the compounds studied from the water.


Liquid chromatography–mass spectrometry Surface water Waste water Endocrine-disrupting compounds 



The work described in this article was supported by the Spanish Ministerio de Educación y Ciencia Project EVITA (CTM2004-06255-CO3-01) and by the Catalan Water Agency contract. The authors would like to thank Roser Chaler and Dori Fanjul for their valuable technical assistance, Jordi Bonet for his help during sampling and sample processing, Lluis Tirapu for indicating the sampling points of interest, and STP personnel for collecting the samples. Merck is acknowledged for the gift of the LC columns and the SPE cartridges used in the study.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2006

Authors and Affiliations

  • Raquel Céspedes
    • 1
  • Sílvia Lacorte
    • 1
  • Antonio Ginebreda
    • 2
  • Damià Barceló
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Environmental ChemistryIIQAB-CSICBarcelonaSpain
  2. 2.Catalan Water Agency (Agència Catalana de l’Aigua), Department of Environmental AffairsGeneralitat de CatalunyaBarcelonaSpain

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