The Fate of Polymeric Quaternary Ammonium Salts from Cosmetics in Wastewater Treatment Plants

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Title The Fate of Polymeric Quaternary Ammonium Salts from Cosmetics in Wastewater Treatment Plants
Author Cumming, Janet Louise; Hawker, Darryl William; Chapman, Heather Faye; Nugent, Kerry
Journal Name Water, Air and Soil Pollution
Year Published 2011
Place of publication Netherlands
Publisher Springer Netherlands
Abstract Polymeric quaternary ammonium salts or polyquaterniums used in cosmetics have been categorised as chemicals of concern in wastewater treatment plant (WWTP) effluent largely on the basis of emerging evidence of toxicity to aquatic organisms. However, little is known of their environmental fate and behaviour due to analytical difficulties with sample matrices. Their properties of negligible volatilisation and biotransformation enable the common fugacity-based model for WWTPs to be simplified to an equifugacity one where a compound has the same fugacity regardless of phase or position in the plant’s process train. To gain an appreciation of their fate, this approach is used to calculate removal efficiencies in WWTPs. These can be determined without calculating phase-specific fugacity capacity constants. To predict effluent concentrations however, an aquivalence approach is necessary because of the lack of volatility of these compounds. Using previously measured biosolids/water distribution coefficients for common polyquaterniums found in cosmetics and flow rate data from a local municipal WWTP in South East Queensland, Australia, the removal efficiencies of the polyquaterniums of interest are predicted to be only 25% or less, meaning relatively little attenuation in the WWTP. A Monte Carlo simulation shows a roughly normal distribution in the model output of polyquaternium removal efficiency, with a mean and mode of approximately 26%. A sensitivity analysis confirms that the model output is most sensitive to the magnitude of the biosolids/water distribution coefficient compound and shows WWTP data such as biosolids removal efficiency have only a relatively small effect.
Peer Reviewed Yes
Published Yes
Alternative URI
Volume 216
Issue Number 1-4
Page from 441
Page to 450
ISSN 0049-6979
Date Accessioned 2011-06-23
Language en_US
Research Centre Griffith Centre for Coastal Management
Faculty Faculty of Science, Environment, Engineering and Technology
Subject Environmental Chemistry (incl Atmospheric Chemistry)
Publication Type Journal Articles (Refereed Article)
Publication Type Code c1

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