Wastewater-based epidemiological engineering

Modelling illicit drug biomarker fate in sewer systems as a means to back-calculate urban chemical consumption rates

Benedek Gy Plosz, Pedram Ramin

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

Abstract

Wastewater-based epidemiology (WBE) is an emerging field that offers potential alternatives for conventional epidemiological approaches in urban areas equipped with centralised sewer network. Human ingestion and metabolism of chemicals result in the excretion of biomarkers that can serve as footprints in wastewater samples collected at a given effluent point of the catchment. Such biomarkers are considered in the WBE framework as pooled, none discriminative urine sample which can be quantified using advanced sample preparation and analytical methods. Uncertainties in associating biomarker footprints directly to actual chemical consumption rate, on the other hand, are not negligible. One way to increase the reliability of data is to account for some of the factors influencing biomarker fate in sewer pipes in so-called back-calculation methods. Mathematical models emerged as effective means to serve this purpose, and engineering tools were borrowed mostly from the field of environmental engineering and science. In this chapter, activated Sludge Model for Xenobiotics (ASM-X) is presented which offers the largest systematic and consistent database to predict illicit drug and pharmaceutical biomarker fate in wastewater conveyed in sewer pipes. ASM-X was originally, developed for predicting the removal of trace organic pharmaceutical chemical pollutants (micropollutants), notably, antibiotics in biological wastewater treatment. Here, we present the identification of simulation models in the ASM-X framework for illicit biomarker transformation, physical-chemical partitioning onto particulate matter and diffusive transport in biofilms. Additionally, prediction of in-the-pipe advective fluid transport is also briefly discussed. Model parameters were estimated using experimental data obtained with in-sewer bio-catalytic environments represented by suspended solids and biofilm. Sources of uncertainties associated with data availability and the employed model identification methods were assessed. A systematic methodology for inferring reliable estimates of unique parameter sets in tandem with chemical transformation pathways was developed using Bayesian optimisation. This is a method that can be generalised to any other chemodynamics problems focusing on quantifying chemical biotransformation using external prior metabolic information, e.g., assessing in-sewer microbial chemical transformation using human metabolism as sole prior structured knowledge. The method developed can offer a platform to promote a more effective interaction between analytical chemists and modellers to develop smart experimental designs conducive for effective model development. This is important as WBE engineering problems often involve newly developed, emerging chemicals (e.g., legal highs drugs) – a very challenging epidemiological problem to engineer effective interventions for. The identification method developed can be used in conjunction with optimal experimental designs to effectively identify model structures and parameters. Model validation by means of independent data sets is additionally presented.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationFrom Drugs to Diet
Subtitle of host publicationEvaluation of Community Consumption using Wastewater-based Epidemiology
EditorsB. G. Loganathan, B. Subedi, D. A. Burgard
PublisherAmerican Chemical Society
Chapter5
Pages99-115
ISBN (Print)9780841234413
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 24 Jun 2019

Publication series

NameACS Symposium Series
Volume1319

Cite this

Plosz, B. G., & Ramin, P. (2019). Wastewater-based epidemiological engineering: Modelling illicit drug biomarker fate in sewer systems as a means to back-calculate urban chemical consumption rates. In B. G. Loganathan, B. Subedi, & D. A. Burgard (Eds.), From Drugs to Diet: Evaluation of Community Consumption using Wastewater-based Epidemiology (pp. 99-115). (ACS Symposium Series; Vol. 1319). American Chemical Society. https://doi.org/10.1021/bk-2019-1319.ch005

Wastewater-based epidemiological engineering : Modelling illicit drug biomarker fate in sewer systems as a means to back-calculate urban chemical consumption rates. / Plosz, Benedek Gy; Ramin, Pedram.

From Drugs to Diet: Evaluation of Community Consumption using Wastewater-based Epidemiology. ed. / B. G. Loganathan; B. Subedi; D. A. Burgard. American Chemical Society, 2019. p. 99-115 (ACS Symposium Series; Vol. 1319).

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

Plosz, BG & Ramin, P 2019, Wastewater-based epidemiological engineering: Modelling illicit drug biomarker fate in sewer systems as a means to back-calculate urban chemical consumption rates. in BG Loganathan, B Subedi & DA Burgard (eds), From Drugs to Diet: Evaluation of Community Consumption using Wastewater-based Epidemiology. ACS Symposium Series, vol. 1319, American Chemical Society, pp. 99-115. https://doi.org/10.1021/bk-2019-1319.ch005
Plosz BG, Ramin P. Wastewater-based epidemiological engineering: Modelling illicit drug biomarker fate in sewer systems as a means to back-calculate urban chemical consumption rates. In Loganathan BG, Subedi B, Burgard DA, editors, From Drugs to Diet: Evaluation of Community Consumption using Wastewater-based Epidemiology. American Chemical Society. 2019. p. 99-115. (ACS Symposium Series). https://doi.org/10.1021/bk-2019-1319.ch005
Plosz, Benedek Gy ; Ramin, Pedram. / Wastewater-based epidemiological engineering : Modelling illicit drug biomarker fate in sewer systems as a means to back-calculate urban chemical consumption rates. From Drugs to Diet: Evaluation of Community Consumption using Wastewater-based Epidemiology. editor / B. G. Loganathan ; B. Subedi ; D. A. Burgard. American Chemical Society, 2019. pp. 99-115 (ACS Symposium Series).
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