Comparative analysis of treatment efficiency of PPCPs in wastewater and drinking water plant in Northeastern Ohio

First Author's Department

Biological Sciences

Second Author's Department

Biological Sciences

Third Author's Department

Biological Sciences



Document Type



Pharmaceuticals and personal care products (PPCPs) are one group of Contaminants of Emerging Concern (CECs) that have the potential to impact water quality and human health. Currently, PPCP monitoring and reporting is not mandatory according to state or federal laws, and more often water treatment plants are not directed to remove PPCPs This study monitored and compared treatment efficiencies of separate drinking water and wastewater treatment plants (DWTP and WWTP) in Northeastern Ohio, focusing on their ability to remove PPCPs. This study also examined if environmental variables have a role in altering PPCP concentrations in water treatment plants. Samples were collected from the Sandusky Water Treatment Facility and Kent wastewater reclamation plant in the summer of 2018. PPCPs were determined using High-Performance Liquid Chromatography-Mass Spectrometry (HPLC-MS). Screening for antibiotic-resistant bacteria from source water was also conducted using LB agar plates. The concentration of nutrients and environmental variables, including soluble reactive phosphate (SRP), nitrate, ammonia, total nitrogen, dissolved organic carbon (DOC), and chlorophyll-a, were measured using standard methods. Chlorophyll-a and nitrate concentrations were comparatively higher at the point of discharge in the Kent WWTP compared to the source water at the DWTP in Sandusky. Future work will involve monitoring PPCP concentrations in water treatment plants with different treatment processes (e.g., UV, biofiltration, ozone) to better understand the efficacy of filtration techniques in successful removal of these contaminants from water systems.