Wastewater Treatment Plants as a Point Source of Plastic Pollution

Altug H., ERDOĞAN Ş.

WATER AIR AND SOIL POLLUTION, vol.233, no.12, 2022 (SCI-Expanded) identifier identifier

  • Publication Type: Article / Article
  • Volume: 233 Issue: 12
  • Publication Date: 2022
  • Doi Number: 10.1007/s11270-022-05962-6
  • Journal Indexes: Science Citation Index Expanded (SCI-EXPANDED), Scopus, ABI/INFORM, Agricultural & Environmental Science Database, Aqualine, Aquatic Science & Fisheries Abstracts (ASFA), Artic & Antarctic Regions, BIOSIS, Biotechnology Research Abstracts, CAB Abstracts, Chemical Abstracts Core, Chimica, Compendex, EMBASE, Environment Index, Geobase, Greenfile, Pollution Abstracts, Veterinary Science Database, Civil Engineering Abstracts
  • Keywords: Sewage sludge, Plastic pollution, Wastewater treatment plant, Microplastic, Mesoplastic, MICROPLASTIC POLLUTION, FRESH-WATER, FATE, INGESTION, SEDIMENTS, DAPHNIA, ECOSYSTEMS, ORGANISMS, PARTICLES, ESTUARIES
  • Yozgat Bozok University Affiliated: Yes


As a consequence of large plastic production rates, plastic waste accumulation in different ecosystems has rapidly increased all over the world. The level of microplastic pollution in different ecosystems has become better understood today with many studies conducted in recent years. However, in order to prevent the increase in microplastic pollution, it is of great importance to determine the sources. Wastewater treatment plants (WWTPs), where domestic and industrial wastewater containing microplastic (MP) particles are collected and treated, are important facilities to estimate the plastic waste release amount to the environment. For this reason, it is essential to determine the contribution of wastewater treatment plants to microplastic pollution. This study aimed to investigate the microplastic and mesoplastic removal rate of the WWTP in Yozgat (Turkey). Water samples for micro- and mesoplastic were taken from the inlet and outlet of the WWTP. The highest MP concentrations were observed in the influent samples. The average MP number observed in influent was 46.5 +/- 11.6 L-1 and 61.4 +/- 11.7 L-1 for March and September, respectively. On the other hand, the average MP number of effluent was 1.6 +/- 0.7 and 2.2 +/- 0.5 L-1 for March and September, respectively. The MP abundance of sludge was 5.7 +/- 1.4 MP particle/g. Moreover, mesoplastic abundance was 0.06 +/- 0.026 L-1 for influent, and mesoplastic particle was not observed in any of effluent sample. According to the Raman and FTIR analysis results, the most observed polymer derivatives were polystyrene (PS), polyvinyl chloride (PVC), and epoxy, and their percentages were 15.9%, 15.9%, and 11.3%, respectively. According to the results obtained in this study, the MP retain capacity of the WWTP was calculated as 96.7%, while all the mesoplastics were retained.