Skip to main content

Research Repository

Advanced Search

Assessment of bisphenol-A in the urban water cycle.

Petrie, Bruce; Lopardo, Luigi; Proctor, Kathryn; Youdan, Jane; Barden, Ruth; Kasprzyk-Hordern, Barbara


Luigi Lopardo

Kathryn Proctor

Jane Youdan

Ruth Barden

Barbara Kasprzyk-Hordern


The plasticizer bisphenol-A (BPA) is common to municipal wastewaters and can exert toxicity to exposed organisms in the environment. Here BPA concentration at 5 sewage treatment works (STW) and distribution throughout a river catchment in South West UK were investigated. Sampling sites included influent and effluent wastewater (n = 5), river water (n = 7) and digested sludge (n = 2) which were monitored for 7 consecutive days. Findings revealed average BPA loads in influent wastewater at two STWs were 10-37 times greater than the other wastewaters monitored. Concentrations up to ~100 ug L-1 were measured considerably higher than previously reported for municipal wastewaters. Temporal variability throughout the week (i.e., highest concentrations during weekdays) suggests these high concentrations are linked with industrial activity. Despite >90% removal during wastewater treatment, notable concentrations remained in tested effluent (62-892 ng L-1). However, minimal impact on BPA concentrations in river water was observed for any of the effluents. The maximum BPA concentration found in river water was 117 ng L-1 which is considerably lower than the current predicted no effect concentration of 1.6 ug L-1. Nevertheless, analysis of digested sludge from sites which received these elevated BPA levels revealed average concentrations of 4.6 {plusmn} 0.3 and 38.7 {plusmn} 5.4 ug g-1. These sludge BPA concentrations are considerably greater than previously reported and are attributed to the high BPA loading in influent wastewater. A typical sludge application regime to agricultural land would result in a predicted BPA concentration of 297 ng g-1 in soil. Further studies are needed on the toxicological thresholds of exposed terrestrial organisms in amended soils to better assess the environmental risk here.


PETRIE, B., LOPARDO, L., PROCTOR, K., YOUDAN, J., BARDEN, R. and KASPRZYK-HORDERN, B. 2019. Assessment of bisphenol-A in the urban water cycle. Science of the total environment [online], 650(1), pages 900-907. Available from:

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Sep 1, 2018
Online Publication Date Sep 5, 2018
Publication Date Feb 10, 2019
Deposit Date Sep 10, 2018
Publicly Available Date Sep 6, 2019
Journal Science of the total environment
Print ISSN 0048-9697
Electronic ISSN 1879-1026
Publisher Elsevier
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 650
Issue 1
Pages 900-907
Keywords Bisphenol A; Plasticizer; Wastewater; River; Sludge; Industry
Public URL


You might also like

Downloadable Citations