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Wide-scope target screening characterization of legacy and emerging contaminants in the Danube River Basin by liquid and gas chromatography coupled with high-resolution mass spectrometry

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NG Kelsey Kwong Pui ALYGIZAKIS Nikiforos NIKA Maria-Christina GALANI Aikaterini OSWALD Peter OSWALDOVA Martina CIRKA Lubos KUNKEL Uwe MACHERIUS Andre SENGL Manfred MARIANI Giulio TAVAZZI Simona SKEJO Helle GAWLIK Bernd M. THOMAIDIS Nikolaos S. SLOBODNÍK Jaroslav

Year of publication 2023
Type Article in Periodical
Magazine / Source Water Research
MU Faculty or unit

Faculty of Science

Keywords Organic pollutants; Danube River Basin; Wastewater treatment plants; Target screening; Environmental risk assessment
Description A state-of-the-art wide-scope target screening of 2,362 chemicals and their transformation products (TPs) was performed in samples collected within the Joint Danube Survey 4 (JDS4) performed in 2019. The analysed contaminants of emerging concern (CECs) included three major categories: plant protection products (PPPs), industrial chemicals and pharmaceuticals and personal care products (PPCPs). In total, 586 CECs were detected in the samples including 158 PPPs, 71 industrial chemicals, 348 PPCPs, and 9 other chemicals. A wide-variety of sample matrices were collected including influent and effluent wastewater, groundwater, river water, sediment and biota. Forty-five CECs (19 PPPs, 8 industrial chemicals, 18 PPCPs) were detected at levels above their ecotoxicological thresholds (lowest predicted no-effect concentration (PNEC) values) in one or more of the investigated environmental compartments, indicating potential adverse effects on the impacted ecosystems. Among them 12 are legacy substances; 33 are emerging and qualify as potential Danube River Basin Specific Pollutants (RBSPs). Moreover, the efficiency of the wastewater treatment plants (WWTPs) was evaluated using 20 selected performance indicator chemicals. WWTPs showed effective removal (removal rate >= 80%) and me-dium removal (removal rate 25-80%) for 6 and 8 of the indicator chemicals, respectively. However, numerous contaminants passed the WWTPs with a lower removal rate. Further investigation on performance of WWTPs is suggested at catchment level to improve their removal efficiency. WWTP effluents are proven to be one of the major sources of contaminants in the Danube River Basin (DRB). Other sources include sewage discharges, in-dustrial and agricultural activities. Continuous monitoring of the detected CECs is suggested to ensure water quality of the studied area.
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