First quantification of semi-crystalline microplastics in industrial wastewaters

Catégorie : Détection et Caractérisation
Date :28 septembre 2020
Bitter, Hajo; Lackner, Susanne.
Chemosphere : 258
Microplastics enter natural water bodies by a variety of pathways, one of them being wastewater streams. The role of industrial wastewater in overall microplastic emissions has so far only been estimated, because access is usually restricted. This is the first report providing quantitative data on microplastics in industrial wastewaters. The wastewater discharge of three different industrial sites was sampled in the size ranges of small microplastics (10-1000 mu m) and large microplastics (1000 -5000 mu m). Differential scanning calorimetry (DSC) was used to detect and quantify semi-crystalline thermoplastics. Polyethylene (PE) and polypropylene (PP) were the most abundant polymers, but polyamide (PA) and polyethylene terephthalate (PET) were also found. As all three industrial sites had wastewater treatment plants (WWTP), the total concentrations were in the mu g L-1 range, comparable to organic micropollutants in municipal WWTP effluents. At one industrial site, the removal capacity of the WWTP was evaluated by sampling and analyzing the influent as well as the effluent. The total microplastics concentration in the influent was in the g L-1 range, yielding a removal capacity of the industrial WWTP of >99.99 %.