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This article in JEQ

  1. Vol. 41 No. 4, p. 1263-1267
    Received: June 1, 2011

    * Corresponding author(s): cwwalker@usgs.gov
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Occurrence of Carbamazepine in Soils under Different Land Uses Receiving Wastewater

  1. Charles W. Walker *a,
  2. John E. Watsona and
  3. Clinton Williamsb
  1. a The Pennsylvania State Univ., 116 ASI Building, University Park, PA 16802
    b USDA–ARS, U.S. Arid Land Agricultural Research Center, 21881 N. Cardon Ln., Maricopa, AZ 85239; C.W. Walker, current address: U.S. Geological Survey, 5522 Research Park Dr., Baltimore, MD 21228. Assigned to Associate Editor Kuldip Kumar


Due to its resistance to many wastewater treatment processes, the antiepileptic drug carbamazepine (CBZ) is routinely found in wastewater effluent. Wastewater irrigation is an alternative to stream discharge of wastewater effluent, which utilizes the soil as a tertiary filter to remove excess nutrients and has the potential to remove pharmaceutical compounds. Previous data suggest that CBZ is strongly sorbed to soil; however, it is unknown what its fate is for long periods of irrigation and if land use affects its distribution. Therefore, the objectives of our research were to characterize CBZ concentrations in soils that have been receiving wastewater irrigation for >25 yr under three different land uses: cropped, grassed, and forested. Triplicate soil cores were collected at each of the land uses to a depth of 120 cm. Extractions for CBZ were performed using 5-g soil samples and 20 mL of acetonitrile. The extracted solutions were analyzed on a liquid chromatograph tandem mass spectrometer. The samples were also analyzed for supporting information such as organic carbon, pH, and electrical conductivity. Results suggest that there is accumulation of the CBZ in the surface soils, which have the highest organic carbon content. Average concentrations of CBZ in the surface soils were 4.92, 2.9, and 1.92 ng g−1, for the forested, grassed, and cropped land uses, respectively. The majority of the CBZ was found in the upper 30 cm of the profile. Our results suggest that the soils adsorb CBZ and slow its movement into groundwater, compared to the movement of nonadsorbed chemicals.

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Copyright © 2012. Copyright © by the American Society of Agronomy, Crop Science Society of America, and Soil Science Society of America, Inc.