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Profiles and removal efficiency of polybrominated diphenyl ethers by two different types of sewage treatment work in Hong Kong.

The Science of the total environment (2014-12-03)
Yu Bon Man, Ka Lai Chow, Ming Man, James Chung Wah Lam, Frankie Tat Kwong Lau, Wing Cheong Fung, Ming Hung Wong
ABSTRACT

This study was to investigate removal efficiencies and profiles of 14 polybrominated diphenyl ether (PBDE) congeners by two different types of sewage treatment work (STW) in Hong Kong: Stonecutters Island STW (SCISTW) which uses chemically enhanced primary treatment (CEPT) process and Sha Tin STW (STSTW) which adopts biological treatment. The results indicated that both SCISTW and STSTW had a high total removal efficiency for BDE-47, BDE-99 BDE-209 and total PBDEs (SCISTW: 71.6 ± 15.8, 84.7 ± 12.3, 96.0 ± 2.62 and 87.4 ± 8.02%, respectively; STSTW: 74.8 ± 9.5, 90.7 ± 9.14, 96.2 ± 2.41 and 89.3 ± 2.62%, respectively) and PBDEs were chiefly removed by sorption. However, the profile of PBDEs demonstrated that the relative proportions of BDE-28 and BDE-47 in total PBDEs markedly increased, while that of BDE-209 decreased in the effluent samples of the two sewage treatment works, especially in STSTW. The percentage of BDE-209 in total PBDEs in effluent (49.3%) of SCISTW was 21.2% lower than that in influent (70.5%), and the percentage of BDE-209 in total PBDEs in effluent (13.8%) of STSTW was 34.1% reduced from influent (47.9%). Despite overall removal, the percentage of BDE-47 in total PBDEs in effluent (17.6%) of SCISTW was 6.85% higher than that in influent (10.7%), and the percentage of BDE-47 in total PBDEs in effluent (33.5%) of STSTW was 18.1% increased from influent (16.8%). The increase in proportion of BDE-47 in the effluent might raise environmental and public health concerns. Our study is a first attempt in reporting the PBDE congener profiles in different phases of sewage treatment.

MATERIALS
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