This study investigates the removal and fate of 23 emerging organic micropollutants (EOMs) including a wide range of pharmaceuticals (antibiotics, beta-blockers, analgesics, diuretics, psychostimulants, antiepileptics, immunosuppressives, anticoagulants), and steroid hormones detected in municipal wastewater by a pilot-scale membrane bioreactor (MBR) plant at two different solid retention times (SRTs) of 60 and 21 days. Different removal efficiencies of the selected EOMs were observed and explained based on their physicochemical properties (such as distribution coefficient, log D; dissociation constant, pK(a); solid-water distribution coefficients, and K-d) along with process operating parameters. The dominant removal mechanisms of EOMs were biotransformation and sorption onto the sludge, which were confirmed by the mass balance study. Moreover, changes in the sludge properties, as a consequence of different SRTs, were evaluated based on variations in soluble microbial products (SMP), extracellular polymeric substances (EPS), and capillary suction time (CST). Finally, the quality of the MBR effluent was compared with some established guidelines, which confirmed the fulfilment of water quality requirements for reuse purposes. (C) 2019 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.
Municipal wastewater treatment;Membrane bioreactor;Emerging organic micropollutants;Biotransformation/biodegradation;Solid retention times;