Removal of Antibiotics from Surface and Distilled Water in Conventional Water Treatment Processes

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J. Environmental Engineering



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Conventional drinking water treatment processes were evaluated under typical water treatment plant conditions to determine their effectiveness in the removal of seven common antibiotics: carbadox, sulfachlorpyridazine, sulfadimethoxine, sulfamerazine, sulfamethazine, sulfathiazole, and trimethoprim. Experiments were conducted using synthetic solutions prepared by spiking both distilled/deionized water and Missouri River water with the studied compounds. Sorption on Calgon WPH powdered activated carbon, reverse osmosis, and oxidation with chlorine and ozone under typical plant conditions were all shown to be effective in removing the studied antibiotics. Conversely, coagulation/flocculation/sedimentation with alum and iron salts, excess lime/soda ash softening, ultraviolet irradiation at disinfection dosages, and ion exchange were all relatively ineffective methods of antibiotic removal. This study shows that the studied antibiotics could be effectively removed using processes already in use in many water treatment plants. Additional work is needed on by-product formation and the removal of other classes of antibiotics.

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