UBC Faculty Research and Publications

Occurrence of the Persistent Antimicrobial Triclosan in Microwave Pretreated and Anaerobically Digested Municipal Sludges under Various Process Conditions Kor-Bicakci, Gokce; Abbott, Timothy; Ubay-Cokgor, Emine; Eskicioglu, Cigdem


Treatment of emerging contaminants, such as antimicrobials, has become a priority topic for environmental protection. As a persistent, toxic, and bioaccumulative antimicrobial, the accumulation of triclosan (TCS) in wastewater sludge is creating a potential risk to human and ecosystem health via the agricultural use of biosolids. The impact of microwave (MW) pretreatment on TCS levels in municipal sludge is unknown. This study, for the first time, evaluated how MW pretreatment (80 and 160 °C) itself and together with anaerobic digestion (AD) under various sludge retention times (SRTs: 20, 12, and 6 days) and temperatures (35 and 55 °C) can affect the levels of TCS in municipal sludge. TCS and its potential transformation products were analyzed with ultra-high-performance liquid chromatography and tandem mass spectrometry. Significantly higher TCS concentrations were detected in sludge sampled from the plant in colder compared to those in warmer temperatures. MW temperature did not have a discernible impact on TCS reduction from undigested sludge. However, AD studies indicated that compared to controls (no pretreatment), MW irradiation could make TCS more amenable to biodegradation (up to 46%), especially at the elevated pretreatment and digester temperatures. At different SRTs studied, TCS levels in the thermophilic digesters were considerably lower than that of in the mesophilic digesters.

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