Contaminants of emerging concern in drinking water: assessment of the effectiveness of removal by drinking water treatments and possible risks to human health

Profita, Marilin (2023) Contaminants of emerging concern in drinking water: assessment of the effectiveness of removal by drinking water treatments and possible risks to human health, [Dissertation thesis], Alma Mater Studiorum Università di Bologna. Dottorato di ricerca in Scienze della terra, della vita e dell'ambiente, 35 Ciclo.
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Contaminants of emerging concern are increasingly detected in the water cycle, with endocrine-disrupting chemicals (EDCs) receiving attention due to their potential to cause adverse health effects even at low concentrations. Although the EU has recently introduced some EDCs into drinking water legislation, most drinking water treatment plants (DWTPs) are not designed to remove EDCs, making their detection and removal in DWTPs an important challenge. The aim of this doctoral project was to investigate hormones and phenolic compounds as suspected EDCs in drinking waters across the Romagna area (Italy). The main objectives were to assess the occurrence of considered contaminants in source and drinking water from three DWTPs, characterize the effectiveness of removal by different water treatment processes, and evaluate the potential biological impact on drinking water and human health. Specifically, a complementary approach of target chemical analysis and effect-based methods was adopted to explore drinking water quality, treatment efficacy, and biological potential. This study found that nonylphenol (NP) was prevalent in all samples, followed by BPA. Sporadic contamination of hormones was found only in source waters. Although the measured EDC concentrations in drinking water did not exceed threshold guideline values, the potential role of DWTPs as an additional source of EDC contamination should be considered. Significant increases in BPA and NP levels were observed during water treatment steps, which were also reflected in estrogenic and mutagenic responses in water samples after the ultrafiltration. This highlights the need to monitor water quality during various treatment processes to improve the efficiency of DWTPs. Biological assessments on finished water did not reveal any bioactivity, except for few treated water samples that exhibited estrogenic responses. Overall, the data emphasize the high quality of produced drinking water and the value of applying integrated chemical analysis and in vitro bioassays for water quality assessment.

Tipologia del documento
Tesi di dottorato
Profita, Marilin
Dottorato di ricerca
Settore disciplinare
Settore concorsuale
Parole chiave
Contaminants of emerging concern, Endocrine-disrupting chemicals, Drinking water, Effect-based methods, Chemical analysis, Drinking water treatment plant, Water treatment efficiency, Human health
Data di discussione
15 Giugno 2023

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