Pharmaceuticals and other anthropogenic trace contaminants reach wastewaters and are often not satisfactorily eliminated in sewage treatment plants. These contaminants and/or their degradation products may reach surface waters, thus influencing aquatic life. In this study, the behavior of five different antihypertonic pharmaceuticals from the sartan group (candesartan, eprosartan, irbesartan, olmesartan and valsartan) is investigated in lab-scale sewage plants. The elimination of the substances with related structures varied broadly from 17 % for olmesartan up to 96 % for valsartan. Monitoring data for these drugs in wastewater effluents of six different sewage treatment plants (STPs) in Bavaria, and at eight rivers, showed median concentrations for, e.g. valsartan of 1.1 and 0.13 μg L(-1), respectively. Predicted environmental concentrations (PEC) were calculated and are mostly consistent with the measured environmental concentrations (MEC). The selected sartans and the mixture of the five sartans showed no ecotoxic effects on aquatic organisms in relevant concentrations. Nevertheless, the occurrence of pharmaceuticals in the environment should be reduced to minimize the risk of their distribution in surface waters, ground waters and bank filtrates used for drinking water.