Journal of Water Security, Volume 2 (2016)

Modelling diclofenac and ibuprofen residues in major Estonian seaside cities

Erki Lember, Karin Pachel, Enn Loigu
Tallinn University of Technology


A theoretical model was developed to model the fate of two common pharmaceutical residues: diclofenac and ibuprofen in eight Estonian seaside cities that discharge their wastewaters directly into the Baltic Sea. The consumption rates of the active ingredients of diclofenac and ibuprofen from 2006-2014 were analysed. A decrease of 19.9% for diclofenac consumption and an increase of 14.1% for ibuprofen were found. The fate of diclofenac and ibuprofen were modelled by considering the human metabolism removal rate for pharmaceuticals, the removal rate of diclofenac and ibuprofen in activated sludge wastewater treatment plants (WWTP) and annual flow rates. An average decrease from 1 to 0.8 µg/l (decrease of 20%) for diclofenac and an increase from 11.4 to 13.4 µg/l (increase of 14.9%) for ibuprofen for the concentration in the effluents of the WWTP were modelled. The model gives us a good overview about the theoretical concentrations of pharmaceutical residues in the environment and is helpful for evaluating environmental impacts.

Keyword(s): diclofenac residues, fate of pharmaceuticals, ibuprofen residue, modelling pharmaceuticals, pharmaceutical residues in the environment

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Journal of Water Security eISSN 2345-0363

This journal is published under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 3.0 Unported License. Responsible editor: Laima Taparauskiene.