Pharmaceuticals occurrence in a WWTP with significant industrial contribution and its input into the river system

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Occurrence and removal of 81 representative Pharmaceutical Active Compounds (PhACs) were assessed in a municipal WWTP located in a highly industrialized area, with partial water reuse after UV tertiary treatment and discharge to a Mediterranean river. Water monitoring was performed in an integrated way at different points in the WWTP and river along three seasons. Consistent differences between therapeutic classes were observed in terms of influent concentration, removal efficiencies and seasonal variation. Conventional (primary and secondary) treatment was unable to completely remove numerous compounds and UV-based tertiary treatment played a complementary role for some of them. Industrial activity influence was highlighted in terms of PhACs presence and seasonal distribution. Even if global WWTP effluent impact on the studied river appeared to be minor, PhACs resulted widespread pollutants in river waters. Contamination can be particularly critical in summer in water scarcity areas, when water flow decreases considerably ​
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