Skip to main content
Loading Events

« All Events

  • This event has passed.

Graduate Defense: Abigail Ryan

June 22 @ 3:00 pm - 4:00 pm MDT

Thesis Defense

Thesis Information

Title: Analysis Of Emerging Constituents In An Activated Sludge Wastewater Treatment Facility

Program: Master of Science in Civil Engineering

Advisor: Dr. Sondra Miller, Civil Engineering

Committee Members: Dr. Kevin Roche, Civil Engineering; and Dr. Nick Hudyma, Civil Engineering


Emerging constituents (ECs) are pharmaceuticals and personal care products. The primary source of ECs in surface waters is the discharge of wastewater treatment facilities (WWTF). However, little is known about the effects of the treatment processes on ECs. This research aimed to expand the understanding of ECs through an activated sludge WWTF by analyzing the removal rates of the ECs in both liquids and solids treatment processes. This was accomplished by studying 11 ECs in the Lander Street Water Renewal Facility (LSWRF) in Boise, Idaho, USA. The 11 ECs studied consisted of anti-inflammatory drugs, personal care products, bronchodilators, H2 blockers, central nervous system stimulants, serotonin reuptake inhibitors, anticonvulsants, and antibiotics. The selected ECs were monitored over six months from February through July 2022. Grab samples were collected after each treatment step at the LSWRF. The concentrations were determined by triple quadrupole liquid chromatography and mass spectrometry system. Four ECs (acetaminophen, salicylic acid, sulfamethoxazole, and theophylline) were found to have statistically significant removals in both the solids and liquid results (97.6% to 99.8%). Thus, there was an overall removal of the ECs through the LSWRF. Ibuprofen and cimetidine had statistically significant removals in the liquid results (98.0% and 59.1%, respectively), while citalopram and methylphenidate had significant removals in the solids results (70.9% and 87.0%, respectively). From this research three trends of removals were identified in both the liquid and solids results. Overall, this research was unique in that every treatment step was analyzed including the solids treatment because the solids are typically overlooked. By analyzing the solids, a more complete analysis of the ECs in the entire system was developed.