Jacobs Journal of Civil Engineering

Environmental Risk Assessment of 20 Human Use Antibiotics in Surface Water and Urban Wastewater

* Süreyya Meriç
Department Of Environmental Engineering, Namik Kemal University, Turkey

*Corresponding Author:
Süreyya Meriç
Department Of Environmental Engineering, Namik Kemal University, Turkey

Published on: 2018-06-21


Antibiotic consumption has received a lot of attention in the media in the last several years due to the increasing numbers of diseases and infections becoming resistant to traditional treatments for both humans and animals. Because they are excreted unchanged via urine and/or feces into domestic sewage, and consequently discharged to receiving waters in the effluents of urban wastewater treatment plants (UWTPs). Most of antibiotics are also associated to multidrug resistance in bacteria. The absence of full environmental fate and effect data of antibiotics inhibits an effective assessment of the potential risk through environmental pathways. This study aimed to assess the risk for a series of antibiotics mostly detected in surface waters and in the influent and effluent of UWTPs. Among those 20 antibiotics, which were in question in this study, a few of antibiotics were assessed causing low hazard to algae in surface water (Erithromycin, Spiramycin and Chlortetracycline), in UWTP influent (Ampicillin) and UWTP effluent (Ofloxacin) and medium risk in UWTP effluent (Erithromycin).


Antibiotics; Antibiotic Resistant Bacteria; Acuatic Risk Assessment;Urban Wastewater Treatment Plants; Hazard Quotient


Pharmaceuticals are a class of emerging environmental contaminants that have been of increasing concern over the last decade [1]. Antibiotics are biologically active compounds categorized as emerging environmental contaminants of concern [2]. The residues of antibiotics are widely present in feces, medical waste, Urban wastewater treatment plants (UWTP) and rivers due to their extensive long-term usage in human therapies, animals, plant agriculture and aquaculture [3]. These compounds are partially removed by wastewater treatment plants (UWTPs). If they are not eliminated during the purification process, they pass through the sewage system and may accumulate in the environment [4-9]. The extensive and indiscriminate use of these compounds in human and veterinary medicine and their continual introduction into the environmental matrices may explain such bioaccumulation and pseudo-persistence [10,11]. Antibiotic residues in aquatic environments not only pose a threat on aquatic organisms, but also accelerate the development of bacterial resistant genes, which could eventually affect the broader microbial population dynamics in different environmental systems [12]. A risk analysis is provided in order to assess and compare the potential environmental risk of various types of wastewater (hospital and municipal effluents) by evaluating the ratio between the measured environmental concentration (MEC) and the predicted no-effect concentration (PNEC) for these wastewater [13]. Using a risk quotient (RQ), which is defined as the ratio the maximum measured environmental concentration (MEC) to the predicted no-effect concentration (PNEC), the ecosystem risk from pollutants can be gauged. Researchers have used the RQ to assess the low levels of PPCPs on ecosystem health with varying results [14]. With these reasons, human antibiotics were chosen to assess their possible environmental risks. These results provided important data for risk assessment of antibiotics in the study area.