Mass Flow of Polycyclic Musks in Two Wastewater Treatment Plants

  • J. L. Reiner
  • J. D. Berset
  • K. KannanEmail author


Synthetic musks are found in varying amounts in many consumer products. After use, synthetic musks go down the drain into the sewer system and then reach wastewater treatment plants (WWTPs). In this study, mass flows of two synthetic polycyclic musks, 1,3,4,6,7,8-hexahydro-4,6,6,7,8,8-hexamethylcyclopenta[γ]-2-benzopyran (HHCB) and 7-acetyl-1,1,3,4,4,6-hexamethyl-1,2,3,4-tetrahydronaphthalene (AHTN), along with HHCB-lactone (the oxidation product of HHCB) were examined in two WWTPs. Wastewater and sludge samples were collected at various stages of the treatment process for analysis. HHCB, AHTN, and HHCB-lactone were found in all wastewater samples at concentrations in the ranges of 1780 to 12700, 304 to 2590, and 146 to 4000 ng/L, respectively. The highest concentrations for all compounds were found in sludge samples. Sludge samples contained HHCB at 7.23 to 108 mg/kg dry weight, AHTN at 0.809 to 16.8 mg/kg dry weight, and HHCB-lactone at 3.16 to 22.0 mg/kg dry weight. This is the first study to report HHCB-lactone in wastewater and HHCB, HHCB-lactone, and AHTN in sludge in WWTPs from the United States. HHCB and AHTN concentrations decreased during treatment. However, the concentrations of HHCB-lactone increased in water after treatment. Based on the daily flow rates and mean concentrations of the three compounds in effluent, a WWTP representative of those studied here is expected to release 288 g HHCB, 60.4 g AHTN, and 158 g HHCB-lactone/100,000 people/d. Partitioning HHCB, AHTN, and HHCB-lactone to sludge is the major removal mechanism for polycyclic musks in WWTPs.


Sludge Activate Sludge Sludge Sample Wastewater Sample Primary Sludge 
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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2007

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Wadsworth Center, New York State Department of Health and Department of Environmental Health Sciences, School of Public HealthState University of New York at AlbanyAlbanyUSA
  2. 2.Water and Soil Protection Laboratory GBLBernSwitzerland

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