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Landfill leachate contributes per-/poly-fluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) and pharmaceuticals to municipal wastewater

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Abstract

Widespread disposal of landfill leachate to municipal sewer infrastructure in the United States calls for an improved understanding of the relative organic-chemical contributions to the wastewater treatment plant (WWTP) waste stream and associated surface-water discharge to receptors in the environment. Landfill leachate, WWTP influent, and WWTP effluent samples were collected from three landfill-WWTP systems and compared with analogous influent and effluent samples from two WWTPs that did not receive leachate. Samples were analyzed for 73 per-/poly-fluoroalkyl substances (PFAS), 109 pharmaceuticals, and 21 hormones and related compounds. PFAS were detected more frequently in leachate (92%) than in influent (55%). Total PFAS concentrations in leachate (93 100 ng L−1) were more than 10 times higher than in influent (6950 ng L−1) and effluent samples (3730 ng L−1). Concentrations of bisphenol A; the nonprescription pharmaceuticals cotinine, lidocaine, nicotine; and the prescription pharmaceuticals amphetamine, carisoprodol, pentoxifylline, and thiabendazole were an order of magnitude higher in landfill leachate than WWTP influent. Leachate load contributions for PFAS (0.78 to 31 g d−1), bisphenol A (0.97 to 8.3 g d−1), and nonprescription (2.0 to 3.1 g d−1) and prescription (0.48 to 2.5 g d−1) pharmaceuticals to WWTP influent were generally low (<10 g d−1) for most compounds resulting from high influent-to-leachate volumetric ratios (0.983). No clear differences in concentrations were apparent between effluents from WWTPs receiving landfill leachate and those that did not receive landfill leachate.

Graphical abstract: Landfill leachate contributes per-/poly-fluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) and pharmaceuticals to municipal wastewater

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Supplementary files

Article information


Submitted
17 Jan 2020
Accepted
11 Mar 2020
First published
13 Mar 2020

This article is Open Access

Environ. Sci.: Water Res. Technol., 2020, Advance Article
Article type
Paper

Landfill leachate contributes per-/poly-fluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) and pharmaceuticals to municipal wastewater

J. R. Masoner, D. W. Kolpin, I. M. Cozzarelli, K. L. Smalling, S. C. Bolyard, J. A. Field, E. T. Furlong, J. L. Gray, D. Lozinski, D. Reinhart, A. Rodowa and P. M. Bradley, Environ. Sci.: Water Res. Technol., 2020, Advance Article , DOI: 10.1039/D0EW00045K

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