Detection of N-nitrosodimethylamine (NDMA) and its formation potential in hospital wastewater

Shaanan Sack, Dror Avisar, Aviv Kaplan, Yaal Lester

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Hospital wastewaters contain high concentrations of pharmaceutical residues and other chemicals, and may present an important source for NDMA (N-nitrosodimethylamine) and its precursors in the aquatic environment. The present study evaluates the contribution of hospital wastewater to NDMA environmental load and identifies important sources within the hospital itself. For this purpose, wastewaters from five large hospitals in Israel were analyzed, and concentrations of NDMA were found in the range of 20.7–56.7 ng/L, which are similar to NDMA concentrations typically detected in domestic wastewater. The relative contribution of day surgery, oncology, laboratories, and central kitchen (in Sheba hospital) to the daily load of NDMA was calculated as 20.2%, 8.2%, 10%, and 43.2%, respectively. In addition, NDMA concentration in Sheba’s mixed wastewater stream, measured throughout a complete working day, was highest at 14:00. This suggests the possible impact of lunchtime on NDMA concentration, and emphasizes the dominant contribution of central kitchen waste. Finally, formation potential of NDMA in the mixed stream was 7300 ng/L, in the upper range of domestic wastewater, but could be decreased by 70% during subsequent aerobic biological wastewater treatment.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)14199-14206
Number of pages8
JournalEnvironmental Science and Pollution Research
Issue number11
StatePublished - Mar 2021


  • Biological treatment
  • Formation potential
  • Hospital wastewaters
  • NDMA

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Environmental Chemistry
  • Pollution
  • Health, Toxicology and Mutagenesis


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