Document Type

Book Chapter

Publication Date

Winter 12-2016

Publication Title

Environmental Emission of Pharmaceuticals from Wastewater Treatment Plants in the USA




Jesse D. Jones College of Science, Engineering and Technology


The residual drugs, drug bioconjugates, and their metabolites, mostly from human and veterinary usage, are routinely flushed down the drain, and enter wastewater treatment plants (WWTP). Increasing population, excessive use of allopathic medicine, continual introduction of novel drugs, and existing inefficient wastewater treatment processes result in the discharge of large volumes of pharmaceuticals and their metabolites from the WWTPs into the environment. The effluent from the WWTPs globally contaminate ~25% of rivers and the lakes. Pharmaceuticals in the environment, as contaminants of emerging concerns, behave as pseudo-persistent despite their relatively short environmental half-lives in the environment. Therefore, residual levels of pharmaceuticals in the environment not only pose a threat to the wildlife but also affect human health through contaminated food and drinking water. This chapter highlights WWTPs as point-sources of their environmental emissions and various effects on the aquatic and terrestrial ecosystem.



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