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An assessment of the concentrations of pharmaceutical compounds in wastewater treatment plants on the island of Gran Canaria (Spain)

Rayco Guedes-Alonso, Cristina Afonso-Olivares, Sarah Montesdeoca-Esponda, Zoraida Sosa-Ferrera and José Juan Santana-Rodríguez*

Author Affiliations

Departamento de Química, Universidad de Las Palmas de Gran Canaria, Las Palmas de Gran Canaria, 35017, Spain

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SpringerPlus 2013, 2:24  doi:10.1186/2193-1801-2-24

Published: 26 January 2013


An assessment of the concentrations of thirteen different therapeutic pharmaceutical compounds was conducted on water samples obtained from different wastewater treatment plants (WWTPs) using solid phase extraction and high- and ultra-high-performance liquid chromatography with mass spectrometry detection (HPLC-MS/MS and UHPLC-MS/MS), was carried out.

The target compounds included ketoprofen and naproxen (anti-inflammatories), bezafibrate (lipid-regulating), carbamazepine (anticonvulsant), metamizole (analgesic), atenolol (β-blocker), paraxanthine (stimulant), fluoxetine (antidepressant), and levofloxacin, norfloxacin, ciprofloxacin, enrofloxacin and sarafloxacin (fluoroquinolone antibiotics).

The relative standard deviations obtained in method were below 11%, while the detection and quantification limits were in the range of 0.3 – 97.4 ng·L-1 and 1.1 – 324.7 ng·L-1, respectively. The water samples were collected from two different WWTPs located on the island of Gran Canaria in Spain over a period of one year. The first WWTP (denoted as WWTP1) used conventional activated sludge for the treatment of wastewater, while the other plant (WWTP2) employed a membrane bioreactor system for wastewater treatment.

Most of the pharmaceutical compounds detected in this study during the sampling periods were found to have concentrations ranging between 0.02 and 34.81 μg·L-1.

Pharmaceutical compounds; Solid-phase extraction; Liquid chromatography; Mass spectrometry; Wastewater