Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)

Semester of Degree Completion


Thesis Director

Karen F. Gaines


The concentration of 17β-estradiol (E2) was measured through stages of wastewater treatment at a central Illinois wastewater treatment plant (WWTP). E2 concentration was quantified using a competitive enzyme linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA). The concentration of E2 was compared with demographic effects of a university, physical parameters of the wastewater (dissolved oxygen, pH, and temperature) and daily influent and effluent flow rates. Effluent concentrations ranged from 0 to 25.3 ng L-1 with an average discharge of 3.6 ng L-1. E2 concentration was shown to increase at the start of each university semester, however, this trend was not observed in the summer sessions. Low influent and effluent flow rates, which correspond to increased water retention time at the WWTP, were correlated to increased removal efficiency of E2, where low flow was linked to 91% removal efficiency and high flow with 58% removal efficiency. This study concludes that E2 was being discharged at concentrations known to cause ecological risk, and that the demography changes associated with the Eastern Illinois University student body had a significant effect on E2 concentration throughout the treatment process.