The Removal of Illicit Drugs and Metabolites During Wastewater and Drinking Water Treatment

  • Alexander L. N. van Nuijs
  • Adrian Covaci


In recent years, the presence of illicit drugs and metabolites in the aquatic environment (wastewater, surface water, and drinking water) in relatively high concentrations (ng/L to μg/L range) was extensively investigated and described. However, only few papers gave attention to the behavior of these compounds during water treatment processes. This is an important aspect, since an inefficient removal of illicit drugs and metabolites could lead to their presence in surface water and drinking water. This eventually could lead to negative effects on different aspects of the aquatic environment. In this chapter, an overview of the current knowledge of the removal of illicit drugs and their metabolites during wastewater and drinking water treatment is given together with a critical discussion regarding future research needs in this field.


Wastewater Treatment Removal Rate Illicit Drug Reverse Osmosis Drinking Water Treatment 
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Alexander van Nuijs and Dr. Adrian Covaci are grateful to the Flanders Scientific Funds for Research (FWO) for financial support. We also acknowledge the funding of a FWO project on pharmaceuticals and illicit drugs in wastewater (G. 0177.09 N).


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Toxicological CentreUniversity of AntwerpAntwerpBelgium

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