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Air Pollution Profiles and Health Risk Assessment of Ambient Volatile Organic Compounds above a Municipal Wastewater Treatment Plant, Taiwan

Category: Air Pollution and Health Effects

Volume: 19 | Issue: 2 | Pages: 375-382
DOI: 10.4209/aaqr.2018.11.0408

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Dika Rahayu Widiana1,2, Ya-Fen Wang 2, Sheng-Jie You2, Hsi-Hsien Yang3, Lin-Chi Wang4,5,6, Jung-Hsuan Tsai2, Home-Ming Chen2,7

  • 1 Department of Civil Engineering, Chung Yuan Christian University, Taoyuan 32023, Taiwan
  • 2 Department of Environmental Engineering, Chung Yuan Christian University, Taoyuan 32023, Taiwan
  • 3 Department of Environmental Engineering and Management, Chaoyang University of Technology, Taichung 41349, Taiwan
  • 4 Department of Civil Engineering and Geomatics, Cheng Shiu University, Kaohsiung 83347, Taiwan
  • 5 Center for Environmental Toxin and Emerging-Contaminant Research, Cheng Shiu University, Kaohsiung 83347, Taiwan
  • 6 Super Micro Mass Research and Technology Center, Cheng Shiu University, Kaohsiung 83347, Taiwan
  • 7 Sewerage Systems Office, Public Works Department, Taipei City Government, Taipei 10376, Taiwan


103 VOCs, TVOC, CO, CO2, NH3, H2S, and particulate matter were investigated.
Health risk for residents were estimated follow the method from U. S. EPA.
Carcinogenic risk for the residents was categorized as possible risk.
Non-carcinogenic risk for residents was considered at acceptable level.


Municipal wastewater treatment processes have the function of removing harmful pollutants in the wastewater. However, there are probably several problems of air emissions related to these processes, especially for residents who live near a wastewater treatment plant. Volatile organic compounds exposure increases the risk of cancer. Thus, the health risk of residents to ambient volatile organic compounds exposure is essential to be conducted. One hundred and three volatile organic compounds (VOCs), total volatile organic compounds (TVOCs), and some prominent air pollutants (CO, CO2, NH3, H2S, PM1, PM2.5, PM7, PM10, TSP) were investigated at the surface of an underground wastewater treatment plant in Taipei City during four different seasons. Twenty four VOCs were identified, some of which were categorized as carcinogenic to humans (Group 1) and possibly carcinogenic to humans (Group 2B) according to the International Agency for Research on Cancer. The mean values of CO, CO2, PM1, PM2.5, PM7, PM10 and TSP were found to be 0.64 ppm, 293.68 ppm, 1.37 µg m–3, 3.20 µg m–3, 10.74 µg m–3, 13.48 µg m–3, and 16.90 µg m–3, respectively. NH3 and H2S were not detected in the present study. The health risk for residents was estimated following the method from United States Environmental Protection Agency (U.S. EPA). The cumulative of carcinogenic risk was 3.48 × 10–5 and categorized as a possible risk. In addition, the result was also possibly affected by traffic nearby. The magnitude for non-carcinogenic risk index was less than 1.


Air pollutant Wastewater treatment plant Volatile organic compound Cancer risk

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