Funeral Homes and Slaughterhouses: Contributions of Emerging Contaminants to Municipal Wastewaters

Author(s): Edward A McBean, Hamid Salsali, Munir Bhatti and J Huang

Attention to emerging contaminants due to their appearance in receiving waterbodies has resulted in efforts to identify contributions from alternative sources, including those contributed from funeral homes and slaughterhouses. This paper describes results of a monitoring program to characterize the source magnitudes of emerging contaminants into municipal wastewater treatment plants (WWTPs), specifically from two funeral homes in two different cities, and a slaughterhouse, to identify source magnitudes of the selected beta-blockers, antidepressants, antibiotic, estrogens, acidic pharmaceuticals and basic/neutral pharmaceuticals in WWTPs. Acetaminophen, caffeine, ciprofloxacin and ibuprofen were detected in all the samples from funeral homes and slaughterhouse while 17a-ethinyl estradiol (EE2), citalopram, gemfibrizol, sulfamethoxazole, sulfapyridine, and venlafaxine were detected in samples at more than 50% frequency. There were differences in compounds detected 100% of time between funeral home-A and funeral home-B. In slaughterhouses, acetaminophen, atenolol, bisphenol A, caffeine, ciprofloxacin, citalopram, gemfibrizol and ibuprofen were detected in all the samples. When the contributions from funeral homes and slaughterhouse are compared to the total loading for each compound at the WWTPs, it was determined that funeral homes and the slaughterhouse contributed <3.5% of the mass loading. The loading percentages for all five groups for funeral homes-A and B and the slaughterhouse (were 0.14%, 0.70%, 3.2%, respectively, where the major contributions were from acetaminophen and sulfamethoxazole. The substantial presence of acidic and basic/neutral pharmaceuticals, especially acetaminophen from both funeral home-B and the slaughterhouse, and natural estrogens and industrial estrogens specially Estrone and Nonylphenol in the slaughterhouse are noted due to their major contributions towards the total load.

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