Presence and behaviour of pharmaceuticals, metabolites and transformation products in wastewaters from Catalonia and Brazil


Rodriguez Murillo, Natalia


The growth of population has brought an increasing of the industrial and technological progress, and with the development of a multitude of chemical compounds that are continuously contaminating water (surface, ground and/or drinking water). Several years ago, the analytical technology present in the market did not be able to detect the presence of pollutants in water at trace levels (ng L-1 or μg L-1), but thanks to the development of highly sensitive detectors such as mass spectrometry, it is possible to detect qualitatively and quantitatively the pollutants in the aquatic environment. In the last years, the occurrence of new non-regulated contaminant is being of great interest in research. These contaminants belong to a group known as emerging contaminants (ECs) are not included in the list of priority pollutants either at European or national level. ECs are found in different types of products such as pharmaceuticals and personal care products (PPCPs), pesticides/biocides, industrial and food additives, surfactants, etc. It has been proven that the largest contribution of ECs comes from effluents from Wastewater Treatment Plants (WWTPs). The main problem of WWTPs is that due to their conventional treatments, are not able to remove these new class of pollutants. Therefore, it is necessary to improve chromatographic methods to detect these pollutants and to establish an optimal regulation for the environment.
Thus, the aim of this study is to develop a solid-phase extraction method combined with a previous sample pre-treatment to identify 81 pharmaceuticals, metabolites and transformation products (TPs) using liquid chromatography coupled to tandem mass spectrometry (LC-MS/MS). Wastewater samples from three WWTPs on the coast of Catalonia: Vilanova i la Geltrú WWTP, Sitges WWTP and Cunit-Cubelles WWTP were analysed during the period of March to April 2021.
Moreover, the effluents of three WWTPs in Brazil were analysed. In these WWTPs, the advanced ozone oxidation (AOO) method was applied for 60 minutes as the last part of the water treatment in the plants. With the LC-MS/MS method, the concentrations of drugs were analysed at different times, between 0-60 min, and the levels were effectively reduced once treated with this method before the water was discharged from the WWTP.



Gómez Canela, Cristian
Gotor Navarra, Gemma


IQS SE - Master’s Degree in Analytical Chemistry