Antiviral, antibiotics and decongestants in wastewater treatment plants and receiving rivers in the Thames catchment

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This dataset contains the concentration of eleven antibiotics (trimethoprim, oxytetracycline, ciprofloxacin, azithromycin, cefotaxime, doxycycline, sulfamethoxazole, erythromycin, clarithromycin, ofloxacin, norfloxacin), three decongestants (naphazoline, oxymetazoline, xylometazoline) and the antiviral drug oseltamivir's active metabolite, oseltamivir carboxylate, measured at 21 locations within the River Thames catchment in England. The measurements were taken weekly during November 2009, once in March 2010 and once in May 2011, with the aim to quantify pharmaceutical usage during the influenza pandemic of 2009 and how this compares to inter-pandemic drug use. River samples were acquired by grab samples in glass jars and analysed by liquid chromatography tandem mass spectrometry (LC MS). Two wastewater treatment plants (WWTPs) in southern England (Benson and Oxford) were also sampled during the peak of the second wave of the 2009 influenza A[H1N1]pdm09 pandemic (10-11 November 2009) and on 15 May 2011 using an automated sampler set to acquired hourly (time proportional) samples from the influent and effluent of the WWTPs. The WWTPs are the source for all the drugs found in the river, hence, these were studied to understand the differential fate of the analytes in the two very different WWTPs. Flows for the WWTP and River sampling locations are presented for each of the sampling times to allow for determining hourly loads for the WWTP and daily loads for the river.

Publication date: 2014-08-01 ( created 2009-11-03 )

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This resource is made available under the terms of the Open Government Licence

You must cite: Singer, A.C.; Järhult, J.D.; Grabic, R.; Khan, G.A.; Lindberg, R.H.; Fedorova, G.; Fick, J.; Bowes, M.J.; Olsen, B.; Söderström, H. (2014). Antiviral, antibiotics and decongestants in wastewater treatment plants and receiving rivers in the Thames catchment. NERC Environmental Information Data Centre.


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Study area
Temporal extent
2009-11-11    to    2011-05-11

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The sampling of all analytes in the Benson and Oxford WWTP was performed during a 24-hour period spanning 10-11 November 2009. An additional 24-h sampling was initiated on May 15, 2011 from only the Benson WWTP effluent. An automated sampler was used to recover a time-proportional sample (approximately 750 ml) of influent and effluent every hour for 24 hours. Samples were aliquoted into triplicate 50-ml borosilicate glass vials with PTFE-lined caps and immediately stored at -80°C until analysis. Grab samples were acquired from the main river flow at 21 locations within the Thames catchment as part of the CEH Thames Initiative Research Platform on November 3, 11, 17, and 24, 2009, as well as on March 15, 2010 (late-pandemic period) and May 11, 2011 (inter-pandemic period). River flow data was acquired from the National River Flow Archive ( for all locations at the closest gauging station to the sampling site. Samples were transported from the field to the laboratory in amber glass jars (250 ml) within 6 hours and transferred into 50-ml borosilicate glass vials with PTFE-lined caps, in triplicate. The samples were stored at -80°C until analysis. An on-line solid phase liquid extraction/liquid chromatography-tandem mass-spectrometry (SPE/LC-MS/MS) method was used to measure the analyte levels in pre-filtered and acidified 1 mL-samples. This on-line SPE/LC-MS/MS method used has 132 been evaluated and described in detail previously: Khan GA, Lindberg R, Grabic R, Fick J (2012) The development and application of a system for simultaneously determining anti-infectives and nasal decongestants using on-line solid- phase extraction and liquid chromatography-tandem mass spectrometry. J Pharm Biomed Anal 66: 24-32.


Centre for Ecology & Hydrology
Centre for Ecology & Hydrology
University of South Bohemia in Ceske Budejovice
Umeå University
Umeå University
University of South Bohemia in Ceske Budejovice
Umeå University
Centre for Ecology & Hydrology
Umeå University

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Point Of Contact
Centre for Ecology & Hydrology
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Spatial representation type
Spatial Reference System
OSGB 1936 / British National Grid


Topic Categories
Inland Waters
Other keywords
wastewater treatment plant
River Thames
wastewater epidemiology
Benson Sewage Works
Oxford Sewage Works
Other keywords
Pollution & Environmental Risk
Water quality
Rees Section
Place keywords
River Thames catchment (UK)

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Record identifier
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Environmental Information Data Centre
United Kingdom
Record last updated