Pharmaceuticals in sewage systems and surface waters: status quo

A.M. Breure, M. Casellas, J. Craft, C. Dagot, R.G. Frew, K.P.M. Helwig, C. Hunter, K. Klepiszewski, D. Lachassagne, Y. Levi, S. Lyko, J. MacLachlan, M. McNaughtan, I. Nafo, J.B. Roberts, C. Wiest, Y. Perrodin, M.C. Ploy, X. Shu, T. Stalder

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution


This Chapter summarises new findings and insights relating to the occurrence of pharmaceuticals in the environment. With the introduction of the ‘Watch List’, which now features several pharmaceuticals (Table 3.1), a quantitative understanding of sources, available dilution and resulting concentrations of pharmaceuticals occurring in the aquatic environment remains important. Surface water measurement campaigns in the partner countries provide a useful ‘snapshot’ of levels of pharmaceuticals found in environmental waters, whereas waste water treatment plant (WWTP) influent and effluent concentrations, especially in combination with flow data, offer insights into the load discharged into the environment and dilution required to keep environmental concentrations below target levels, should these be set in the future. Sewage sludge is in some countries spread on agricultural land in the interest of nutrient cycling. Effects of pharmaceuticals on grazing animals have been established by Bellingham et al. (2012). Section 3.2 reports on concentrations and loads encountered
in the course of our sampling campaigns in WWTP, rivers and sludges, including on the effect of stabilisation treatments on concentrations and partitioning of pharmaceuticals in sludge.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationNo pills in waters : noPILLS report
Subtitle of host publicationInterreg IV B NWE project partnership 2012-2015
Place of PublicationEssen
Number of pages17
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2015


  • pharmaceutical micropollutants
  • PiE
  • pharmaceutical residues
  • water pollution


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