Polystyrene and Polymethylmethacrylate Microplastics Embedded in Fat, Oil, and Grease (FOG) Deposits of Sewers

Document Type : Original Research Paper


Faculty of Civil Engineering, Dresden University of Applied Sciences, 01069, Dresden, Germany


Fat, oil, and grease (FOG) deposits in the urban sewer system affect the optimal performance of the wastewater collection system and treatment plant, while increasing sewer maintenance costs. The interaction of microplastics (MPs) and FOG in the sewer system could drastically change the quality of deposited materials and the fate of MPs in raw sewage. In this study, the batch experiment was conducted to explain the mechanism of FOG formation by synthetic wastewater and its interaction with polystyrene (PS) and polymethyl methacrylate (PMMA) particles. We found three different segments for FOG deposits in the batch, namely static and buoyant micro-deposits, gel-like, and solid deposits. The average size of micro-deposits adhered to the solid-liquid interface of the container was 25 µm and buoyant deposits with a small size of 3 µm adsorbed onto the MPs at the liquid-air interface. The gel-like formation promoted a virtual liquid phase where PS and PMMA were confined and segregated. Some PMMA particles were entrapped in the self-assembly of biopolymers that formed between the PS particles. This research indicates that FOG deposition in the urban sewers contains high numbers of MPs, such that any plan involving a reuse or disposal program requires a risk assessment. 


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