Environmental Science and Pollution Research

, Volume 26, Issue 32, pp 33440–33450 | Cite as

Monitoring survey of caffeine in surface waters (Lis River) and wastewaters located at Leiria Town in Portugal

  • Paula Paíga
  • Sandra Ramos
  • Sandra Jorge
  • Jaime Gabriel Silva
  • Cristina Delerue-MatosEmail author
Research Article


Investigation during 11-month period was performed to study the presence of caffeine in the Lis River in Leiria Town in Portugal, and a monitoring during 9-month period was realized to check the contribution of the human pollution of two wastewater treatment plants (WWTPs) that discharge their effluents to the studied river. The samples were collected in five sampling points along the river and in two influents and two effluents of the studied WWTPs. Caffeine was detected in all ninety-one collected samples. The caffeine concentration ranged from 25.3 to 321 ng/L in the river samples, from 112 to 1927 ng/L in the WWTP effluents, and from 9478 to 83,901 ng/L in the WWTP influents. The highest concentration in the river was detected in the two sampling points located after the effluent discharge points and reached 315 and 321 ng/L. Risk assessment was performed for three trophic levels using the risk quotient calculation and revealed that caffeine do not cause toxic effect on Daphnia magna and on fish but could be possibly toxic to algae. The results proved that caffeine can be an effective indicator of human-born pollution.


Caffeine Liquid chromatography Mass spectrometry Monitoring study Risk assessment 


Funding information

The authors received funding from the EU and FCT/UEFISCDI/FORMAS for funding, in the frame of the collaborative international consortium REWATER financed under the ERA-NET Cofund WaterWorks2015 Call. This ERA-NET is an integral part of the 2016 Joint Activities developed by the Water Challenges for a Changing World Joint Programme Initiative (Water JPI). This work was also supported by UID/QUI/50006/2019 with funding from FCT/MCTES through national funds.

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Supplementary material

11356_2019_6168_MOESM1_ESM.docx (687 kb)
ESM 1 (DOCX 687 kb)


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Copyright information

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

Authors and Affiliations

  • Paula Paíga
    • 1
  • Sandra Ramos
    • 2
  • Sandra Jorge
    • 3
  • Jaime Gabriel Silva
    • 4
    • 5
  • Cristina Delerue-Matos
    • 1
    Email author
  1. 1.REQUIMTE/LAQV, Instituto Superior de Engenharia do PortoPolitécnico do PortoPortoPortugal
  2. 2.CEAUL, Universidade de Lisboa, Portugal and LEMA, Instituto Superior de Engenharia do PortoInstituto Politécnico do PortoPortoPortugal
  3. 3.Águas do Centro Litoral, SA, Grupo Águas de PortugalETA da BoavistaCoimbraPortugal
  4. 4.Águas de Santo André, Cerca da ÁguaVila Nova de Santo AndréPortugal
  5. 5.Departamento de Engenharia Civil, Instituto Superior de Engenharia do PortoInstituto Politécnico do PortoPortoPortugal

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