Fate of Pharmaceutical and Personal Care Products in Irrigated Wastewater Effluent

Lucy Loftus, Guang Jin, Shalamar Armstrong, Thomas J. Bierma, Paul Walker, Wei Zheng, Walt Kelly

Research output: Book/Report/Conference proceedingTechnical report


The potential human and environmental health risks posed by pharmaceuticals and personal care products (PPCPs) have been identified as a research priority at both the federal and state level. It has been well documented that municipal wastewater treatment plants with surface discharge fail to remove many of these emerging contaminants; however, little research has been conducted to determine the capability of lagoon treatment systems to remove PPCPs or of organic-matter-rich clay loam soils to filter PPCPs and reduce surface water pollution. The objective of this study was to determine the fate and transport of selected pharmaceuticals in lagoon-treated wastewater effluent applied as cropland irrigation in Illinois. In this study, we were able to determine the presence of six of the seven priority PPCPs in lagoon-treated wastewater effluent; verify the absence of studied PPCPs in soil and well water prior to treatment; determine characteristics of cropland soil that may impact PPCP transport when wastewater irrigation begins; and conduct sorption isotherm studies to understand the sorption and desorption capabilities of field soils in Lexington, Illinois.
Original languageEnglish (US)
Place of PublicationChampaign, IL
PublisherIllinois Sustainable Technology Center
StatePublished - Jan 2015

Publication series

NameTR Series (Illinois Sustainable Technology Center)


  • Pharmaceuticals -- Environmental aspects -- Illinois
  • Personal care products -- Environmental aspects -- Illinois
  • Wastewater treatment
  • Agricultural irrigation -- Illinois


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