Sources and fate of perfluorinated compounds in the aqueous environment and in drinking water of a highly urbanized and industrialized area in Italy

Sara Castiglioni, Sara Valsecchi, Stefano Polesello, Marianna Rusconi, Manuela Melis, Marinella Palmiotto, Angela Manenti, Enrico Davoli, Ettore Zuccato

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

Perfluorinated substances are listed among emerging contaminants because they are globally distributed, environmentally persistent, bioaccumulative and potentially harmful. In a three-year monitoring campaign (2010-2013) we investigated the occurrence, sources and fate of nine perfluoroalkylcarboxylic acids and three perfluoroalkylsulfonic acids, in the most industrialized region of Italy. Composite samples were collected in influents and effluents of wastewater treatment plants (WWTPs), in the main rivers flowing through the basin, and in raw groundwater and finished drinking water. Samples were analyzed by liquid chromatography tandem mass spectrometry. Perfluorinated substances were not removed in WWTPs and those receiving industrial wastes discharged up to 50 times the loads of WWTPs receiving municipal wastes. The mass balance of the emissions in the River Lambro basin showed continuously increasing contamination from north to south and differences in the composition of homologues in the west and east sides of the basin. Ground and drinking water were contaminated in industrial areas, but these substances were removed well in Milan. Contamination from industrial sources was prevalent over urban sources, contributing to 90% of the loads measured at the closure of the basin. The River Lambro was confirmed as one of the main sources of contamination in the Po River.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)51-60
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Hazardous Materials
Volume282
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Jan 3 2015

Keywords

  • Aqueous environment
  • Drinking water
  • Mass spectrometry
  • Perfluoroalkyl substances
  • Wastewater

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health, Toxicology and Mutagenesis
  • Pollution
  • Waste Management and Disposal
  • Environmental Chemistry
  • Environmental Engineering
  • Medicine(all)

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