Project group meeting
L1-9191 - Illicit drugs, alcohol and tobacco: wastewater based epidemiology, treatment efficiency and vulnerability assessment of water catchments
Illicit drugs, alcohol and tobacco: wastewater based epidemiology, treatment efficiency and vulnerability assessment of water catchments, 1.7.2018 - 30.06.2021, Tina Kosjek
Wastewater-based epidemiology (WBE) is an innovative approach to estimating exposure to external substances in defined populations by analyzing human metabolic excretion products (biomarkers) in wastewater. WBE can deliver complementary information concerning the use of different substances of abuse. In Europe, this kind of research has been ongoing since 2010, however in Slovenia these studies are yet to be performed. This project will correct this by determining selected biomarkers of illicit and licit drugs in influents from WWTP servicing five important Slovenian urban populations. It will compare the results with sale, seizure and consumption data and the findings used to assess the community health and a comparison will be made with WBE data from European cities. In addition to illicit and licit drugs, new psychoactive substances will be identified to aid in their early detection in order to minimize their potential harms, trafficking and to support law enforcement. To minimize uncertainties in WBE, we will apply stable isotope analysis to differentiate between compounds having the same chemical formula, but different isotopic composition, (parent compound/metabolite) or different synthesis/production routes, since stable isotope composition differs according to the source of production. This approach is novel but has the potential to increase greatly the accuracy of drug estimation in WBE.