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Monitoring Estrogen Compounds in Wastewater Recycling Systems

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The presence of pharmaceuticals and personal care products (PPCPs) and endocrine disrupting chemicals (EDCs) in treated wastewater is gaining attention due to their potential environmental impact. An analytical method was developed to quantify estrogen compounds in samples from a concentrated wastewater matrix typical of water recycling systems used in space. The method employed conventional HPLC with UV detection. Solid phase extraction (SPE) was used to isolate the compounds of interest from wastewater. Spike-recovery tests in clean and wastewater matrices were used to test the extraction process. The results of these experiments suggest that deconjugation is the most predominant reaction occurring in the systems, as effluent concentrations of free estrogens typically exceeded influent concentrations. Despite the long retention times of the system or the near infinite solids retention time, free estrogens were not removed from graywater representative of space waste streams. For a closed-loop wastewater treatment system, these compounds may accumulate to levels requiring other removal mechanisms (i.e., reverse osmosis).

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The authors would like to thank the Center for Space Sciences at Texas Tech University and NASA Johnson Space Center for funding the work.

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Correspondence to Audra N. Morse.

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Kvanli, D.M., Marisetty, S., Anderson, T.A. et al. Monitoring Estrogen Compounds in Wastewater Recycling Systems. Water Air Soil Pollut 188, 31–40 (2008).

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