Treatment of Antibiotics and Antibiotic Resistant Bacteria in Swine Wastewater with Free Chlorine

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J. Agriculture and Food Chemistry



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Recent recognition of the occurrence of antibiotics in the environment has highlighted concerns regarding potential threats of antibiotics to humans and wildlife. Antibiotics are commonly applied to animals to prevent diseases and promote growth, making livestock agriculture a major source of antibiotic pollution. The purpose of our study was to examine chlorination technology as a method for preventing the release of antibiotics as well as antibiotic-resistant bacteria into the environment from concentrated animal feeding operations. Wastewaters from various sites of two anaerobic lagoon systems, one aerated and the other not, on a swine facility were investigated. Each system consisted of a primary treatment lagoon and a subsequent polishing lagoon. Free chlorine (or monochloramine for comparison) was applied to oxidize antibiotics and to disinfect lagoon bacteria as well. Results indicate that aeration substantially improves lagoon functionality, thereby adding both organic and ammonia removal. Ammonia present in the wastewaters plays a critical role in antibiotics decomposition and bacterial inactivation due to its rapid competition for free chlorine to form monochloramine. Generally, a chlorine dose close to breakpoint is required to achieve complete removal of antibiotics, leading to high consumption of free chlorine in most of the wastewaters examined. However, because of a low ammonia concentration in the polishing lagoon wastewater of the aerated system, a chlorine dose of 100 mg/L can effectively achieve complete removal of both antibiotics and bacteria. On the basis of our experimental findings, a possible strategy for the treatment of swine wastewater is suggested.

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