Environmental Science and Pollution Research

, Volume 26, Issue 6, pp 5638–5644 | Cite as

Occurrence and removal of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons and their derivatives in an ecological wastewater treatment plant in South China and effluent impact to the receiving river

  • Meng Qiao
  • Lujing Fu
  • Wei Cao
  • Yaohui Bai
  • Qiuxin Huang
  • Xu ZhaoEmail author
Research Article


Ecological wastewater treatment plant (EWWTP), a kind of emerging wastewater treatment plant (WWTP) in recent years, combined microbiology with botany which is efficient for the removal of nitrogen and organic matter, as well as deodorization. The occurrence and removal of micro-organic pollutants in EWWTPs were still not well known. Polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) and their typical derivatives (SPAHs) including the oxygenated PAHs (OPAHs), chlorinated PAHs (ClPAHs), and methyl PAHs (MPAHs) were investigated in an EWWTP in Guangdong Province, China. The concentrations of the Σ6 OPAHs (114–384 ng/L) were higher than the Σ16 PAHs (92–250 ng/L), and much higher than the Σ4 MPAHs (13–64 ng/L) and Σ9 ClPAHs (2–3 ng/L) in the EWWTP and the effluent receiving river. The total removal efficiencies of the PAHs, OPAHs, MPAHs, and ClPAHs in the EWWTP (43 ± 14%, 41 ± 7%, 55 ± 16%, and 18 ± 4%) were lower than the traditional WWTPs, probably due to the lower concentration of the sludge in the ecological treatment. The advanced treatment process (microfiltration and UV disinfection treatment) contributed much less (0–20%) to the whole removal efficiency than the ecological treatment (80–100%). The effluent from the EWWTP slightly reduced the PAHs and SPAHs concentrations in the receiving river. The high concentrations of the PAHs and SPAHs in the receiving river were similar to the influent of the EWWTP, indicating that some untreated wastewater was directly discharged to the river, especially in the upstream.


Polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons Polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbon derivatives Ecological wastewater treatment plant Removal efficiency Effluent receiving rivers 


Funding information

This work was supported by National Natural Science Foundation of China (Grant Nos. 51420105012 and 51508552), Key Program of the Chinese Academy of Sciences (Grant No. ZDRW-ZS-2016-5-6), and the Science and Technology Planning Project of Guangdong Province China (2016A040403039).

Supplementary material

11356_2018_3839_MOESM1_ESM.docx (142 kb)
ESM 1 (DOCX 141 kb)


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Meng Qiao
    • 1
  • Lujing Fu
    • 1
  • Wei Cao
    • 1
  • Yaohui Bai
    • 1
  • Qiuxin Huang
    • 2
  • Xu Zhao
    • 1
    • 3
    Email author
  1. 1.Key Laboratory of Drinking Water Science and Technology, Research Center for Eco-Environmental SciencesChinese Academy of SciencesBeijingChina
  2. 2.CEPREI Environmental Assessment and Monitoring CenterThe Fifth Electronics Research Institute of the Ministry of Industry and Information TechnologyGuangzhouChina
  3. 3.University of Chinese Academy of SciencesBeijingChina

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