April 14, 2022 by Mike Gardner


Mike Gardner and two colleagues from the UKWIR Chemicals Investigation Programme (CIP) have recently published a paper – summarising data obtained by this nationwide monitoring programme over the last ten years. The paper is available under open access here.

This paper reports summary data from a ten-year programme of investigation into the composition of wastewater treatment works' effluents in the UK. The CIP focused on determinands of regulatory importance and involved monitoring of effluents for over seventy trace substances and sanitary determinands at more than 700 UK treatment works sites. The results provide a definitive overview of effluent quality. Although raw data comprising approximately four million results are now publicly available, this publication of summary data provides a convenient résumé of the outputs that define the current state of knowledge concerning effluent quality.

Summaries of the ranges of the concentrations more than fifty water quality parameters in sewage works; effluents are provided.

An accompanying analysis of changes in concentrations over the monitoring period between 2010 and 2020 shows that for several trace substances (nickel, diethylhexylphthalate, nonylphenol, tributyltin, brominated diphenyl ethers and triclosan) significant reductions in wastewater concentration have occurred over the period of interest; these are likely to have resulted from a combination of more stringent regulatory controls and/or improved effectiveness of wastewater treatment processes.