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PARTNERSHIPS FOR ENHANCED ENGAGEMENT IN RESEARCH (PEER)
Cycle 5 (2015 Deadline)


Developing exposure and toxicity data for trace organic chemicals in wastewater, biosolids, and soils


PI: Bice Martincigh (martinci@ukzn.ac.za), University of KwaZulu-Natal
U.S. Partner: Natalie Mladenov, San Diego State University
Project Dates: February 2017 - January 2019

Project Overview:

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Dr. Chris Buckley at the wastewater treatment plant at Newlands Mashu
Contemporary lifestyles and the extensive use of organic chemicals in personal care and consumer products (PCCPs) leads to the constant discharge of enormous quantities of chemical residues from industries and homes into wastewater streams and, ultimately, the environment. In contrast to heavy metals, pathways of trace organic chemicals (TOrCs) derived from manufacturing and use of PCCPs are varied in the wastewater stream . The majority of TOrCs that reach wastewater treatment plants are destroyed through treatment and sludge processing, but recalcitrant TOrCs and their metabolites can pass through the treatment process intact and partition, dependent on their physico-chemical properties, in biosolids and aqueous media. Very little is known about the fate of TOrCs in the climatic context of South Africa.

This team has chosen to study a set of four classes of potential pollutants: flame retardants, the broad-spectrum herbicide glyphosate (Ro undup®, ubiquitously used in the local sugarcane industry), antibiotics, and HIV anti-retrovirals. Effluents from wastewater treatment plants in the Durban area, sewage sludge, biosolids, soils from effluent-irrigated farm land, and sludge and/or biosolid-amended soils will be analyzed and characterized for the presence of these TOrCs.

This project will have access to the local DEWATS wastewater treatment plant, which allows for detailed studies on the fate of the TOrCs during their passage through the plant and subsequent agricultural areas, providing a confined and controlled environment. Comprehensive target and non-target analytical techniques will be developed to detect and quantify the four classes of compounds in the selected matrices.

Furthermore, the team will develop a simultaneous extraction and clean-up method for each chemical compound class in the above-mentioned matrices.





Summary of Recent Events

In the quarter ending March 2018, the PEER team has been devising the sampling campaign. They have also visited sampling sites to meet the various parties concerned and to make all the logistic arrangements. They have made arrangements to borrow some equipment required for continuous sampling. Alongside with this they have continued to work on the instrumental analysis protocols in the laboratory that we will use to separate the various analytes in the samples. 

Dr. Marticigh and her team have published a preliminary analysis of HIV drugs in wastewater treatment plants in Durban:
Ovokeroye A. Abafe, Jana Späth, Jerker Fick, Stina Jansson, Chris Buckley, Annegret Stark, Bjoern Pietruschka and Bice S. Martincigh, LC-MS/MS determination of antiretroviral drugs in influents and effluents from wastewater treatment plants in KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa, Chemosphere, 200 (2018) 660-670.

In the next 3-6 months the team will have collected and extracted the samples and made some progress towards analyzing them. Two of the students will visit laboratories in Bath and Birmingham where they will receive training on the analysis techniques. This will be funded by the INTERWASTE project that the PI is a signatory to.






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Chemistry lab at UKZNThe UKZN project team and PEER Project Manager


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