Assessment of the effectiveness of secondary wastewater treatment technologies to remove trace chemicals of emerging concern

Mario R. Rojas, Cary Leung, Fabian Bonk, Yan Zhu, Leah Edwards, Robert G. Arnold, A. Eduardo Sáez, Gary Klečka

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

22 Scopus citations


This work presents the results of a literature review and statistical analysis of removals of chemicals of emerging concern (CECs) during conventional wastewater treatment. Process-dependent attenuations are examined for the 42 most frequently measured and reported CECs. Biological treatment processes contributing to the review include conventional activated sludge, membrane bioreactors, trickling filters, sequencing batch reactors, and lagoons. Also summarized are compound-specific physical characteristics and biodegradability data that are potential determinants of removal. As anticipated, results of the statistical analysis point to biodegradability and hydrophobicity as the most important contributing factors for removal. Supplemental materials are available for this article. Go to the publisher's online edition of Critical Reviews in Environmental Science and Technology to view the supplemental file.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1281-1314
Number of pages34
JournalCritical Reviews in Environmental Science and Technology
Issue number12
StatePublished - Jan 1 2013



  • activated sludge
  • chemicals of emerging concern
  • microconstituents
  • trace organics
  • wastewater treatment

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Environmental Engineering
  • Water Science and Technology
  • Waste Management and Disposal
  • Pollution

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