Environmental monitoring and assessment

Occurrence of naproxen, ibuprofen, and diclofenac residues in wastewater and river water of KwaZulu-Natal Province in South Africa.

PMID 28639109


The present paper reports a detailed study that is based on the monitoring of naproxen, ibuprofen, and diclofenac in Mbokodweni River and wastewater treatment plants (WWTPs) located around the city of Durban in KwaZulu-Natal Province of South Africa. Target compounds were extracted from water samples using a multi-template molecularly imprinted solid-phase extraction prior to separation and quantification on a high-performance liquid chromatography equipped with photo diode array detector. The analytical method yielded the detection limits of 0.15, 1.00, and 0.63 μg/L for naproxen, ibuprofen, and diclofenac, respectively. Solid-phase extraction method was evaluated for its performance using deionized water samples that were spiked with 5 and 50 μg/L of target compounds. Recoveries were greater than 80% for all target compounds with RSD values in the range of 4.1 to 10%. Target compounds were detected in most wastewater and river water samples with ibuprofen being the most frequently detected pharmaceutical. Maximum concentrations detected in river water for naproxen, ibuprofen, and diclofenac were 6.84, 19.2, and 9.69 μg/L, respectively. The concentrations of target compounds found in effluent and river water samples compared well with some studies. The analytical method employed in this work is fast, selective, sensitive, and affordable; therefore, it can be used routinely to evaluate the occurrence of acidic pharmaceuticals in South African water resources.