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"We can identify more chemicals"

On June 11th, researchers from FRAM carried out state of the art-sampling at a treatment plant in Stenungsund.

With a new instrument and in collaboration with UFZ in Germany, hundreds of chemicals can be analysed.

– We are using a machine from UFZ from Germany that preconcentrates organic chemicals. We are testing that machine on the effluent from the waste water treatment plant in Stenungsund, says Julian Gallego, postdoc at Dept of Marine Sciences at University of Gothenburg.

At Strävliden in Stenungsund the waste water from households and small industries is purified in the treatment plant. But there might be hazardous chemicals left in the outflowing water. The researchers take samples on that water, with help from Jörg Alheim from UFZ, Helmholz Centre for Environmental Research in Germany.

– We can identify more chemicals. Chemicals that are maybe present there but in very low quantities. Now we can identify them with this type of instrumentation, says Julian Gallego.

The treatment plant regularly analyses about 40 chemicals in the outgoing treated water. But with this state of the art-instrument, the researchers can analyze and find a lot more - about 600 chemicals. They will be able to trace remnants of medicines and other substances that can be hazardous to the environment. The purpose is to trace the chemicals from the households to the aquatic environment, and see how they affect life in water. 

See a video from when the researchers collected the samples, on YouTube.

During this sampling campaign, the researchers will also sample water at Ryaverket, the largest waste water treatment plant in Sweden, situated in Gothenburg.

– We are going to test the same chemicals as we test here and its going to serve as a comparison. And its also going to be compared by the UFZ to other waste water treatment plants in Europe, as part of a larger project, says Julian Gallego.

The researchers are also investigating what chemicals can leak to storm water from industries in the Stenungsund area. Julian Gallego takes samples from a small river, that are brought back to the treatment plant to be analysed.

What do you think about this project?
– It’s a very interesting experience. It's very good to have a state-of-the-art machine here in Sweden. It's always good to investigate what chemicals can be of concern in the environment, says Julian Gallego.