Evaluation on the removal efficiency of pharmaceutical compounds in conventional drinking water treatment processes

정수처리 공정에서 잔류의약물질 제어 효율 평가

  • Received : 2016.03.29
  • Accepted : 2016.06.17
  • Published : 2016.06.25


In the present study, we evaluated the efficiency of the drinking water treatment unit processes controlled by targeting high pharmaceutical compounds that are likely to be released into the water supply. In the coagulation process, the removal rate of sulfonamide, an antibiotic, amounted to 22.6~42.1 %, that of naproxen to 28.2 %, and that of acetaminophen to 20 %. Trimethoprim has demonstrated a low removal rate (4.4 %), while the removal rate of erythromycin was 2.4 %; aspirin was not removed at all. When applying a mixture of chlorination and the coagulation process, the removal rate was increased with increasing the chlorine dosage. When the chlorine injection with the concentration of 3 mg/L was applied, sulfonamide antibiotics, acetaminophen and naproxen, were completely removed. Trimethoprim exhibited a high removal efficiency of ca. 98%, while the removal efficiency of erythromycin was about 55 %; at the same time, aspirin showed a lower removal ratio (ca. 10 %). When applying the powdered activated carbon adsorption process, the removal rate was increased with increase of the concentration of the powder activated carbon injection. Sulfonamide antibiotics showed about 18~50 % removal efficiency in the 1 mg/L, the removal rate was increased by at least 80 % in 25 mg/L. The evaluation results of the titration injection concentration of chlorine treatment and adsorption, coagulation process for the efficient processing of the remaining pharmaceutical compounds in the water treatment process, when applying the chlorine 3 mg/L, powdered activated carbon 10 mg/L and coagulant 15 mg/L were removed more than 90 %.


pharmaceutical compound;antibiotics;adsorption;coagulation


  1. Ministry of Food and Drug Safety, 2015 Food and drug statistical yearbook, 2015.
  2. National Institute of Environmental Research, Pharmaceuticals in the Environment: sorce and Fate(III), 2010.
  3. World Health Organization, Pharmaceuticals in Drinking-water, 2011.
  4. H. J. Son and S. H. Jang, Env. Eng. Res, 33(6), 453-479 (2011).
  5. F. Baquero, J. L. Martinez and R. Canton, Curr. Opin. Biotech., 19, 260-265 (2008).
  6. P. E. Stackelberg, E. T. Furlong, M. T. Meyer, S. D. Zaugg, A. K. Henderson and D. B. Reissman, Sci. Total Environ., 329, 99-113 (2004).
  7. National Institute of Environmental Research, Development of Analytical Method and Study of Exposure of Pharmaceuticals and Personal Care Produsts in Environment(II), 2007.
  8. Water Quality Research Institue of Waterworks Gwangju, 2015 Water Quality Reports, 2015.
  9. J. H. Kim, C. K. Park, M. Y. Kim and S. G. Ahn, J. Kor. Soci. Environ. Anal., 11(2), 109-118 (2008).
  10. S. W. Nam and K. D. Zoh, J. Environ Health Sci., 39(5), 391-407 (2013).
  11. C. Adams, Y. Wang, K. Lofin and M. Meyer, J. Environ Eng., 128(3), 253-260 (2002).
  12. N. Vieno, T. Tuhkanen and L. Kronberg, Environ. Tech., 27(2), 183-192 (2006).
  13. T. A. Ternes, M. Meisenheimer, D. McDowell, F. Sacher, H. J. Brauch, B. Haist-Gulde, B. et al. Environ. Sci. Technol., 36(17), 3855-3863 (2002).
  14. P. E. Stackelberg, G. Jacob, E. T. Furlong, M. T. Meyer, S. D. Zaugg and R. L. Lippincott, Sci. Total Environ., 377, 255-272 (2007).
  15. P. Westerhoff, Y. Yoon, S. Snyder and E. Wert, Envirin. Sci. Technol., 39, 6649-6663 (2005).