Fate and Removal of Surfactants and Related Compounds in Wastewaters and Sludges
Surfactants are produced in huge amounts and are used in households as well as in industrial cleansing processes. As such, they make up one of the most relevant organic pollutants of anthropogenic origin with the potential to enter the environment. After use they are usually discharged into municipal sewer systems and afterwards treated in wastewater treatment plants, where they are completely or partially removed by a combination of sorption and biodegradation. In this chapter, we review the occurrence of surfactants in wastewaters and sludges and discuss their removal during wastewater treatment by applying conventional activated sludge treatment and advanced treatment processes. Biodegradation of several main classes of surfactants (e.g. LAS, APEO and AEO) is also discussed as a key phenomenon, as well as their removal by sorption onto sewage sludge. Finally, conclusions are drawn with regard to the fate of these compounds in sludge-amended soils.
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