‘Low concentrations of high priority’ – Pharmaceutical and Personal Care Products (PPCPs); occurrence and removal at wastewater treatment plants
Development of advanced analytical tools and analysis of wastewater samples confirmed the presence of residual amount of pharmaceuticals in environment and WWTP effluent in many European countries. Significant amount of compounds (30–90 % of administrated dose of antibiotics) is transported as active substance via urine. Only some part of taken drug dose is metabolized by organisms and the rest is excreted in changed or unchanged form. Many non-target organisms, that could share some receptors with humans, could be exposed on pharmaceutical activity. Another important issue discussed is the combination of additive, synergistic and antagonistic effect that might reveal in the mixture of pharmaceutically active compounds introduced to the environment. The objective of this paper is to give the overview of recent published data concerning PPCPs. In order to find the efficient technology for removal of residual amount of pharmaceuticals the studied methods and solutions are presented. The most interesting removal system is based on membrane technology. Separation of micropollutants onto membrane surface gives satisfactory results in experiments. A polishing step seems to be also a very attractive technology for treatment of biologically active substances that pass all the preceding steps in conventional WWTPs.