Effects of reclaimed water matrix on fate of pharmaceuticals and personal care products in soil

L. K. Dodgen, W. Zheng

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Reclaimed water is increasingly used to supplement water resources. However, reclaimed water has a complex matrix, which includes emerging chemical contaminants, that is introduced to the soil when this water is used for irrigation. The effects of microbial activity, dissolved matter, nutrients, and particulate matter in reclaimed water on half-life of 11 pharmaceutical and personal care products (PPCPs) in soil were investigated with 7 treatment waters, namely swine lagoon effluent (either unaltered, sterilized, or filtered and sterilized) and nanopure water (either unaltered or with added nitrogen, phosphorus, or potassium). The extractable residues of the parent PPCPs were measured over 35 d. Lagoon microbial activity was significantly (p ≤ 0.05) related to increased half-life of 4 PPCPs (carbamazepine, fluoxetine, ibuprofen, sulfamethoxazole) by 14-74%, and to decreased half-life of 3 others (caffeine, gemfibrozil, naproxen) by 13-25%. The presence of lagoon dissolved matter was significantly correlated with a 20-110% increase in half-life for 6 PPCPs (caffeine, estrone, gemfibrozil, ibuprofen, naproxen, triclocarban). However, lagoon particulate matter was significantly correlated with 9-52% decrease in half-life for these same compounds, as well as trimethoprim. The levels of nitrogen, phosphorous, and potassium in the lagoon effluent were not significantly related to half-life for most PPCPs, except caffeine. Overall, specific components of reclaimed water matrix had different effects on the soil half-lives of PPCPs, suggesting that the composition of reclaimed water needs to be considered when evaluating PPCP fate after land application.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)286-293
Number of pages8
StatePublished - Aug 1 2016


  • Hormone
  • Personal care product
  • Pharmaceutical
  • Reclaimed water
  • Soil contamination
  • Water matrix

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Environmental Engineering
  • Environmental Chemistry
  • General Chemistry
  • Pollution
  • Health, Toxicology and Mutagenesis


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