Scientific article
Open access

Fate and removal efficiency of polystyrene nanoplastics in a pilot drinking water treatment plant

Published inScience of the Total Environment, vol. 813, 152623
Publication date2022-03

Occurrence of microplastics and nanoplastics in aquatic systems, as well as in water compartments used to produce drinking water have become a major concern due to their impact on the environment and public health. Nanoplastics in particular, in regard to their fate and removal efficiency in drinking water treatment plants (DWTP), which ensure water quality and supply drinking water for human consumption have been, by far, rarely investigated. This study investigates the removal efficiency of polystyrene (PS) nanoplastics in a conventional water treatment plant providing drinking water for 500′000 consumers. For that purpose, a pilot-scale DWTP, located within the main treatment plant station, reproducing at a reduced scale the different processes and conditions of the main treatment plant is used. The results show that filtration process through sand and granular activated carbon (GAC) filters in the absence of coagulation achieves an overall nanoplastic removal of 88.1%. The removal efficiency of filtration processes is mainly attributed to physical retention and adsorption mechanisms. On the other hand, it is found that coagulation process greatly improves the removal efficiency of nanoplastics with a global removal efficiency equal to 99.4%. The effective removal efficiency of sand filtration increases considerably from 54.3% to 99.2% in the presence of coagulant, indicating that most of PS nanoplastics are removed during sand filtration process. The higher removal efficiency with the addition of coagulant is related to nanoplastics surface charge reduction and aggregation thus significantly increasing their retention in the filter media.

  • Coagulation
  • Drinking water treatment
  • Filtration
  • Nanoplastics
  • Removal efficiency
Citation (ISO format)
RAMIREZ ARENAS, Lina Marcela et al. Fate and removal efficiency of polystyrene nanoplastics in a pilot drinking water treatment plant. In: Science of the Total Environment, 2022, vol. 813, p. 152623. doi: 10.1016/j.scitotenv.2021.152623
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Article (Published version)
ISSN of the journal0048-9697

Technical informations

Creation01/11/2022 2:29:00 PM
First validation01/11/2022 2:29:00 PM
Update time03/16/2023 2:20:10 AM
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