Ocean Science Journal

, Volume 52, Issue 2, pp 193–205 | Cite as

Removal rate and releases of polybrominated diphenyl ethers in two wastewater treatment plants, Korea

  • Hyo Jin Lee
  • Gi Beum KimEmail author


Wastewater treatment plants (WWTPs) play an important role in minimizing the release of many pollutants into the environment. Nineteen congeners in two WWTPs in Korea were determined to investigate the occurrence and fate of polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDEs) during wastewater treatment processes. The concentration of total PBDEs was 69.6 and 183 ng/L in influent, which declined to 1.59 and 2.34 ng/L in the final effluent, respectively (Tongyeong and Jinhae WWTPs). PBDEs were found to exist mostly in the particulate phase of wastewater, which rendered sedimentation efficient for the removal of PBDEs. BDE-209 was the predominant congener in the influent and sludge. Most of the PBDEs entering the WWTPs presumably ended up in the sludge, with < 2% being discharged with the final effluent. According to the mass loading estimation, every day 2.55–9.29 g PBDEs entered the two WWTPs, 2.8–10.4 g were disposed to landfill sites in sludge form and 0.06–0.12 g were discharged to the surrounding water through final effluent, respectively. Preliminary results indicated that the ecological risk to organisms in soil exposed to PBDEs through the usage of sludge application to agricultural land was relatively low. To our knowledge, this study is the first to report on the removal efficiency of PBDEs in a WWTP in Korea.


polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDEs) wastewater treatment plants (WWTPs) removal rate sludge effluent 


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Copyright information

© Korea Ocean Research & Development Institute (KORDI) and the Korean Society of Oceanography (KSO) and Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Institute of Marine Industry, College of Marine ScienceGyeongsang National UniversityTongyeongKorea
  2. 2.Department of Marine Environmental Engineering, College of Marine ScienceGyeongsang National UniversityTongyeongKorea

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