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This article in JEQ

  1. Vol. 41 No. 4, p. 1268-1274
    Received: Sept 28, 2011

    * Corresponding author(s): jgan@ucr.edu
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Leaching of Pharmaceuticals and Personal Care Products in Turfgrass Soils during Recycled Water Irrigation

  1. S. Bondarenkoa,
  2. J. Gan *a,
  3. F. Ernsta,
  4. R. Greenb,
  5. J. Bairdb and
  6. M. McCullough
  1. a Dep. of Environmental Sciences, Univ. of California, Riverside, CA 92521
    b Dep. of Botany and Plant Sciences, Univ. of California, Riverside, CA 92521


An important beneficial reuse of treated wastewater (recycled water) in arid and semiarid regions is landscape irrigation. However, the environmental fate, especially groundwater contamination potential, of trace contaminants such as pharmaceuticals and personal care products (PPCPs) is a significant concern that can hinder the acceptance and adoption of such reuses. In this study, we irrigated mature turfgrass plots with nonspiked tertiary treated wastewater for over 6 mo at 100 or 130% of the reference evapotranspiration rate (ETo) and collected leachate water at the 90-cm depth on a weekly basis. In the recycled water, all 14 target PPCPs were consistently found, and the mean levels of atenolol, gemfibrozil, meprobamate, carbamazepine, and sulfamethoxazole were above 100 ng L−1. However, only five compounds were detected in the leachate at trace levels. Trimethoprim and primidone were frequently found, whereas the detection of sulfamethoxazole, meprobamate and carbamazepine was less frequent (<50%). When detected, the overall mean concentration in the leachate was 10.2 ng L−1 for trimethoprim, 7.1 ng L−1 for primidone, and 2.9 to 12.4 ng L−1 for carbamazepine, sulfamethoxazole, and meprobamate. The majority of the target PPCPs were completely removed. Given that the irrigation rates were higher than normal, this study clearly demonstrated the efficacy of turfgrass systems in attenuating PPCPs during recycled water irrigation. However, it is also apparent that some PPCPs are more susceptible to leaching than others, and these PPCPs thus merit further research attention.

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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.