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High-throughput evaluation of organic contaminant removal efficiency in a wastewater treatment plant using direct injection UHPLC-Orbitrap-MS/MS

Abstract

The removal efficiency (RE) of organic contaminants in wastewater treatment plants (WWTPs) is a major determinant of the environmental impact of the contaminants. However, RE data are available for only few chemicals due to the time and cost required for conventional target analysis. In the present study, we applied non-target screening analysis to evaluate the RE of polar contaminants, by analyzing influent and effluent samples from a Swedish WWTP with direct injection UHPLC-Orbitrap-MS/MS. Matrix effects were evaluated by spiking the samples with isotope-labeled standards of 40 polar contaminants. For 85% of the compounds the matrix effects in the influent and effluent were not significantly different. Approximately 10,000 compounds were detected in the wastewater, of which 319 were identified by the online database mzCloud. Level 1 identification confidence was achieved for 31 compounds for which we had reference standards, and level 2 was achieved for the remainder. RE was calculated from the ratio of the peak areas in the influent and the effluent from the non-target analysis. Good agreement was found with RE determined from target analysis of the target compounds. The method generated reliable estimates of RE for large numbers of contaminants with comparatively low effort, and is foreseen to be particularly useful in applications where information for a large number of chemicals is needed.

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Publication details

The article was received on 17 Nov 2017, accepted on 08 Feb 2018 and first published on 14 Feb 2018


Article type: Paper
DOI: 10.1039/C7EM00552K
Citation: Environ. Sci.: Processes Impacts, 2018, Accepted Manuscript
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    High-throughput evaluation of organic contaminant removal efficiency in a wastewater treatment plant using direct injection UHPLC-Orbitrap-MS/MS

    Z. Li, E. Undeman, E. PAPA and M. McLachlan, Environ. Sci.: Processes Impacts, 2018, Accepted Manuscript , DOI: 10.1039/C7EM00552K

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