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Research article - Peer-reviewed, 2012

Neglected sources of pharmaceuticals in river water-footprints of a Reggae festival

Daneshvar, Atlasi; Svanfelt, Jesper; Kronberg, Leif; Weyhenmeyer, Gesa


Wastewater treatment plants (WWTPs) are commonly considered as the main source of pharmaceuticals in surface waters. Here, however, we show that an open-air festival, attracting approximately 10 000 visitors per year at the shores of River Fyris upstream of Uppsala WWTP, can temporarily result in a higher pharmaceutical input into the river water than the WWTP. Studying the influence of Uppsala Reggae festival on the occurrence of ten commonly used acidic and basic pharmaceuticals upstream, in the effluent, and downstream of the Uppsala WWTP, we found that occasional heavy rainfalls during the festival in 2008 severely increased the mass flows of all pharmaceuticals at the WWTP upstream site. Also, strong increases in ammonium (210-fold), nitrate (21-fold), and total nitrogen (21-fold) mass flows were observed. The pharmaceutical mass flows at the upstream site were up to 3.4 times higher than those observed in the WWTP effluent. In contrast, in 2009, the festival was not accompanied with rainfalls and no major additional input of pharmaceuticals and nitrogen was observed. The findings of this study give new insights into risk assessments and are relevant for monitoring programmes.

Published in

Journal of Environmental Monitoring
2012, Volume: 14, number: 2, pages: 596-603

    SLU Authors

    • Sustainable Development Goals

      SDG6 Clean water and sanitation
      SDG3 Good health and well-being

      UKÄ Subject classification

      Environmental Sciences related to Agriculture and Land-use
      Fish and Aquacultural Science

      Publication Identifiers


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