In this study, a method was developed for determining the concentration of the pharmaceutical fluoxetine and its metabolite, norfluoxetine, in sewage water samples. Sample preparation was performed by hollow-fibre supported liquid membrane (HF-SLM) extraction with final analysis using liquid chromatography with UV detection. Several parameters were studied including type of organic solvent, sample and acceptor pH, and salt and humic acid content. The optimised method allowed determination of the analyte at the ng/L level in sewage water. A linear plot gave a correlation coefficient better than 0.991 for both analytes and resulted in limits of detection in sewage water of 11 and 12 ng/L, for fluoxetine and norfluoxetine, respectively. The enrichment factor was over 1700 for both analytes in sewage water. The repeatability and reproducibility were better than 8% and 17%, respectively. The developed methodology was used to study daily variations of fluoxetine and norfluoxetine in municipal sewage streams. Norfluoxetine has been detected for the first time in sewage water and a preliminary analysis gave average concentrations of 150 and 225 ng/L for norfluoxetine and fluoxetine, respectively.
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