Contribution of siloxanes to COD loading at wastewater treatment plants: phase transfer, removal, and fate at different treatment units

Chemosphere. 2015 Mar;122:245-250. doi: 10.1016/j.chemosphere.2014.11.066. Epub 2014 Dec 16.


Cyclic volatile methylsiloxanes (cVMSs) are entering to waste stream in increasing quantities due to their increasing use in personal care products (i.e., shampoos, creams). The cVMSs have high vapor pressures and low solubilities and are mostly transferred into the gaseous phase via volatilization; however, some are sorbed onto biosolids. The purpose of this study was to track and estimate the phase transfer (water, solids, gas), fate, and contribution to COD loading of selected siloxanes (D4, D5 and D6) which are the most commonly found cVMSs in the wastewater systems. Removal efficiencies of the wastewater treatment units were evaluated based on the partitioning characteristics of the cVMSs in gas, liquid, and biosolids phases. The contributions of the siloxanes present in the influent and effluent were estimated in terms of COD levels based on the theoretical oxygen demand (ThOD) of the siloxanes. Siloxanes constitute approximately 39 and 0.001mgL(-1) of the COD in the influents and effluent. Oxidation systems showed higher removal efficiencies based COD loading in comparison to the removal efficiencies achieved aeration tanks and filtration systems. Treatment systems effectively remove the siloxanes from the aqueous phase with over 94% efficiency. About 50% of the siloxanes entering to the wastewater treatment plant accumulate in biosolids.

Keywords: Aeration; Chemical oxygen demand; Clarifier; Oxidation; Partitioning coefficient; Siloxanes.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Biological Oxygen Demand Analysis*
  • Phase Transition*
  • Siloxanes / chemistry*
  • Siloxanes / isolation & purification*
  • Volatilization
  • Waste Water / chemistry*
  • Water Pollutants, Chemical / chemistry
  • Water Pollutants, Chemical / isolation & purification
  • Water Purification*


  • Siloxanes
  • Waste Water
  • Water Pollutants, Chemical