Ppcps in Coastal Wastewater Treatment Plant Effluent and Uptake by Pacific Oysters (crassostrea Gigas): Findings from a Laboratory Experiment

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The Science of the Total Environment

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Municipal wastewater treatment plant (WWTP) effluent is a primary source of pharmaceuticals and personal care products (PPCPs) to the marine environment, as most of these compounds are not fully removed during the treatment process. Continual discharge from WWTPs into coastal areas may act as a stressor by continually exposing organisms to a suite of PPCPs. To quantify organismal exposure to PPCP mixtures, we conducted a 12-week lab experiment that exposed Pacific oysters to effluent from two Oregon coastal WWTPs of different discharge capacities (permitted as /day and >1 million gallons/day; or < or >3.785 million liters/day) at a dilution of 25 %. Composite samples of weekly collected effluent and a subset of freeze-dried oysters from experiment week 12 were analyzed for PPCPs. Though challenges with food availability inhibited our ability to confidently identify effects of the contaminants on growth and fitness, the experiment allowed us to examine uptake of contaminants from effluent into an estuarine bivalve of commercial importance. We detected 30 PPCPs and three alkylphenols in effluent and 13 PPCPs and four alkylphenols in oyster tissue, indicating high rates of release from secondary treatment and significant potential for marine organism exposure to and uptake of PPCPs in rural coastal areas.


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