Environmental Science and Pollution Research

, Volume 25, Issue 27, pp 26852–26860 | Cite as

Organic contaminants in the effluent of Chinese wastewater treatment plants

  • Zhen Li
  • Tongli Zheng
  • Miao Li
  • Xiang LiuEmail author
Review Article


The effluents of wastewater treatment plants (WWTPs) are the important sources for pollutants. These pollutants may entry into surface water, groundwater, and soil by recharging and irrigation then pose risk to human beings. Using reports from the past 20 years (n = 58), we conducted this review of organic contaminants (OCs) in the effluent of Chinese WWTPs. All the studies were during 2005 to 2017 and more than two papers were conducted in every year. Nineteen provinces (20 cities) were covered and most of the studies were located in the eastern part of China, especially the most developed and highest density of population areas. Two hundred eighty-four OCs were contained. E antibiotics, endocrine-disrupting chemicals (EDCs), and pharmaceuticals were the most commonly studied groups of OCs, and ofloxacin, norfloxacin, and sulfamethoxazole were the three most commonly reported OCs. The highest concentration appeared for bisphenol A (BPA). The relative standard deviations (RSDs) of concentrations of the most commonly studied compounds were high. In the future, more studies should pay attention on national analysis and more pollutants.


Wastewater treatment plants Effluent Organic contaminants Chinese Review 

Supplementary material

11356_2018_2840_MOESM1_ESM.docx (33 kb)
ESM 1 (DOCX 33 kb)


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.School of EnvironmentTsinghua UniversityBeijingChina
  2. 2.Jinan Municipal Hospital of Traditional Chinese MedicineJinanChina

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