Pollution Characteristics and Risk Assessment of Typical Organophosphate Esters in Beijing Municipal Wastewater Treatment Plant and the Receiving Water

ZHANG Zhen-fei1,2 LÜ Jia-pei2 PEI Ying-ying2 WANG Chun-ying1 GUO Chang-sheng2 XU Jian2

(1.College of Resources and Environmental Engineering, Jiangxi University of Science and Technology, Ganzhou, China 341000)
(2.State Key Laboratory of Environmental Criteria and Risk Assessment, Chinese Research Academy of Environmental Sciences, Beijing, China 100012)

【Abstract】Organophosphate esters (OPEs) are ubiquitous in the environment and pose a potential threat to ecosystems and human health. A method for the determination of eight OPEs by ultra-performance liquid chromatography-tandem mass spectrometry (UPLC-MS/MS) was established. The recoveries of eight target compounds with different solid-phase extraction columns, different eluents, and different eluent volumes were compared. Using ENVI-18 column enrichment, OPEs were eluted with 8 mL acetonitrile containing 25% (volume fraction) dichloromethane. The results showed that the spike recovery of the target compound was 92.5%–102.2%. The recoveries of different matrix samples were 88.5%–116.1% and the relative standard deviation was 1.7%–9.9%. The concentration range of eight different detectable OPEs in the effluent of wastewater treatment plant was 85.9–235.4 ng·L−1 during the six-day sampling process, and the permissive river downstream had the six-day average total ΣOPEs concentration of 130.3 ng·L−1, higher than the upstream water concentration (119.4 ng·L−1), but lower than the average total concentration (162.5 ng·L−1) in the effluent from the wastewater treatment plant. The study showed that the wastewater treatment plant cannot completely remove OPEs. For triethyl phosphate (TEP) and tris (2-ethylhexyl) phosphate (TEHP) there existed a negative removal phenomenon, whereas for other OPEs the removal rate was between 14.1% and 84.9%, and the total ΣOPEs removal rate by the wastewater treatment plant was 50.0%. The TPhP in the effluent of the wastewater treatment plant had medium environmental risk (RQ > 0.1), and other organophosphates had low environmental risk (RQ < 0.1). However, the long-term mixing effects of OPEs on the ecosystem of the receiving river should not be ignored.

【Keywords】 organophosphate esters (OPEs); solid phase extraction; wastewater treatment; environmental risk; receiving water;


【Funds】 National Major Science and Technology Project for Water Pollution Control and Treatment (2017ZX07301005-003) National Natural Science Foundation of China (51208482)

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(Translated by PU H)


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This Article



Vol 41, No. 03, Pages 1368-1376

March 2020


Article Outline


  • 1 Materials and methods
  • 2 Results and analysis
  • 3 Discussion
  • 4 Conclusion
  • References