Modeling nanomaterial fate in wastewater treatment: Monte Carlo simulation of silver nanoparticles (nano-Ag)
Wastewater effluent and sewage sludge are predicted to be important release pathways for nanomaterials used in many consumer products. The uncertainty and variability of potential nanomaterial inputs, nanomaterial properties, and the operation of the wastewater treatment plant contribute to the difficulty of predicting sludge and effluent nanomaterial concentration. With a model parsimony approach, we developed a mass-balance representation of engineered nanomaterial (ENM) behavior based on a minimal number of input variables to describe release quantities to the environment. Our simulations show that significant differences in the removal of silver nanoparticles (nano-Ag) can be expected based on the type of engineered coatings used to stabilize these materials in suspension. At current production estimates, 95% of the estimated effluent concentrations of the nano-Ag considered to be least well-removed by the average wastewater treatment plant are calculated to fall below 0.12. μg/L, while 95% of the estimated sludge concentrations of nano-Ag with coatings that increase their likelihood of being present in biosolids, fall below 0.35. μg/L. © 2013 Elsevier B.V.
Hendren, CO; Badireddy, AR; Casman, E; Wiesner, MR
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