There has been considerable concern over endocrine disrupting chemicals (EDCs) which have the ability to alter or disrupt the body's hormone or endocrine system.
The list of suspected endocrine disrupters includes some natural and synthetic steroid oestrogens. Work modelling the fate of steroid oestrogens (SOs) during sewage treatment has indicated that some will partition in significant amounts onto sewage sludge. However, there was no data available on actual levels of such residues in sewage sludges and consequently the model outputs could not be verified.
This research has developed methods for monitoring the concentration of SOs (the natural oestrogens, oestrone, and 17-b-oestradiol and the synthetic oestrogen ethinyl oestradiol) in sewage and sewage sludges. The methods were applied to investigate the presence of SOs in a range of sewages and sewage sludges.
This research was undertaken by WRc-NSF Ltd and was supported by the Global Water Research Coalition (GWRC) - UK Water Industry Research (UKWIR), Australian CSIRO, South African WRC, Netherlands KIWA, Germany RWE and TZW, France Ondeo and Generale des Eaux, America WERF and AWARF.
- Accurate data on the presence and types of SOs will enable Utilities to be proactive in the setting of possible Environmental Quality Standards (EQS) by Regulators.
- The analytical methods developed have been be applied to determine free steroids in sewage sludge, to assess the occurrence of free steroid oestrogens in biosolids applied to land and for to analyse sludge amended soils