Occurrence of priority substances in urban wastewaters of Istanbul and the estimation of the associated risks in the effluents

Rahime Iclal Birtek*, Mahmut Ekrem Karpuzcu, Izzet Ozturk

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

6 Citations (Scopus)


Abstract: Increase in the contamination of the aquatic environments is a global challenge; hence, understanding the sources of priority substances (PSs) is essential. In an attempt to implement this principle, a year-long monitoring covering all seasons was carried out in the influents and effluents of four largest wastewater treatment plants (WWTPs) in Istanbul. Results obtained showed the presence of 48 PSs (66% of the target compounds) including pesticides, polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs), volatile organic compounds (VOCs), dioxins and dioxin-like compounds (DLCs), alkylphenols, phthalates, and metals ranging from low nanograms to micrograms per liter. Priority hazardous substances that were banned for long were still found to be present in wastewaters. PAHs, DLCs, alkylphenols, and metals were found to be present in all samples. Di(2-ethylhexyl) phthalate (DEHP) and DLCs were detected in more than 80% of the influent samples. Trichloromethane had the highest concentrations among the most frequently (80–100%) detected PSs in the influents and effluents. The potential risks that may arise from WWTP effluents containing PSs were estimated by calculating the risk quotients (RQs). Upon the risk estimation conducted on the PSs in effluents, monitoring of the endrin, alpha-cypermethrin, theta-cypermethrin, zeta-cypermethrin, quinoxyfen, bifenox, benzo-ghi-perylene, and DEHP is recommended for the WWTP effluents. Graphical Abstract: [Figure not available: see fulltext.].

Original languageEnglish
Article number426
JournalEnvironmental Monitoring and Assessment
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2022

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2022, The Author(s), under exclusive licence to Springer Nature Switzerland AG.


This work was supported by the ISKI. The authors would like to thank the Department of Wastewater and the Central Laboratory of ISKI for their technical support and their active participation in sampling campaigns and analyses. The authors would also like to express their gratitude and appreciation to Mrs. Elmas Öktem (TÜBİTAK) for her collaboration in gathering and providing data on the methods of PSs analyses; to Dr. Kartal Çetinturk (SEM GROUP) for his valuable discussions and technical support on the instrumental analyses’ methodology as well as in the completion of the said section; to Mr. Ensar Başakın, M.S. and Ms. Elif Kartal, M.S. (both of Department of Civil Engineering, Istanbul Technical University) for their valuable contribution in the visualization of the material; to Prof. Abdulbari Bener (Department of Biostatistics & Medical Informatics, Cerrahpaşa Faculty of Medicine, Istanbul University), to Dr. Hanife Nur Orak (Department of Environmental Engineering, Marmara University), to Dr. Bekir Dizman (Integrated Manufacturing Technologies Research and Application Center & Composite Technologies Center of Excellence, Sabancı University), to Prof. Heidi Gough (School of Environmental and Forest Sciences, University of Washington) for their technical assistances, and finally, to Prof. Glen D. Lawrence (Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry, Long Island University) for his valuable comments on the manuscript.

FundersFunder number
Department of Biostatistics & Medical Informatics, Cerrahpaşa Faculty of Medicine
Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry
Long Island University
Istanbul Üniversitesi
Istanbul Teknik Üniversitesi
Marmara Üniversitesi
Sabancı Üniversitesi


    • Megacity
    • Micropollutants
    • Monitoring
    • Priority substances
    • Risk assessment
    • Wastewater treatment


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