Fates and Removals of Micropollutants in Drinking Water Treatment

정수처리 과정에서의 미량오염물질의 거동 및 제거 특성

Nam, Seung-Woo;Zoh, Kyung-Duk

  • Received : 2013.10.01
  • Published : 2013.10.31


Micropollutants emerge in surface water through untreated discharge from sewage and wastewater treatment plants (STPs and WWTPs). Most micropollutants resist the conventional systems in place at water treatment plants (WTPs) and survive the production of tap water. In particular, pharmaceuticals and endocrine disruptors (ECDs) are micropollutants frequently detected in drinking water. In this review, we summarized the distribution of micropollutants at WTPs and also scrutinized the effectiveness and mechanisms for their removal at each stage of drinking water production. Micropollutants demonstrated clear concentrations in the final effluents of WTPs. Although chronic exposure to micropollutants in drinking water has unclear adverse effects on humans, peer reviews have argued that continuous accumulation in water environments and inappropriate removal at WTPs has the potential to eventually affect human health. Among the available removal mechanisms for micropollutants at WTPs, coagulation alone is unlikely to eliminate the pollutants, but ionized compounds can be adsorbed to natural particles (e.g. clay and colloidal particles) and metal salts in coagulants. Hydrophobicities of micropollutants are a critical factor in adsorption removal using activated carbon. Disinfection can reduce contaminants through oxidation by disinfectants (e.g. ozone, chlorine and ultraviolet light), but unidentified toxic byproducts may result from such treatments. Overall, the persistence of micropollutants in a treatment system is based on the physico-chemical properties of chemicals and the operating conditions of the processes involved. Therefore, monitoring of WTPs and effective elimination process studies for pharmaceuticals and ECDs are required to control micropollutant contamination of drinking water.


Micropollutants;pharmaceuticals;endocrine disruptors;water treatment plant;coagulation;adsorption;chlorination


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