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Research Project

Sorption and Mobility of Pharmaceutical Compounds in Soils Irrigated with Treated Wastewater

photo Treated wastewater is subjected to increasing re-use in arid and semi-arid environments. Very little information is available on the binding interactions of pharmaceutical compounds (PCs) with dissolved organic matter originating from wastewater treatment, i.e., effluent organic matter (EfOM). Such interactions can significantly affect the transport potential of PCs in soils by altering compound affinity for soil particle surfaces. Our primary hypothesis is that the transport potential of PCs in soils is strongly impacted by the type and strength of interaction with EfOM and the stability of resulting EfOM-PC complexes. The overarching goal of the proposed work is to develop a better understanding of the risk associated with introduction of PCs into the environment with treated wastewater. This research project involves the elucidation of mechanisms of interaction of selected pharmaceuticals (that have shown to be widespread wastewater contaminants) with EfOM constituents; determining the stability and fate of EfOM-PC complexes introduced to soils and soil constituents; and evaluating the potential transport of these compounds and their EfOM complexes to groundwater. Separation-detection methods used for this research include LC-MS/MS and LC-ICP-MS.

Funding Agency: Binational Agricultural Research and Development Program (BARD)

Principle Investigator: Jon Chorover


  • Hernandez-Ruiz, S.; Abrell, L.; Wickramasekara, S.; Chefetz, B.; Chorover, J., Quantifying PPCP interaction with dissolved organic matter in aqueous solution: Combined use of fluorescence quenching and tandem mass spectrometry. Water Research, 2012, 46, 943-954.
  • Hernandez Ruiz, S.; Wickramasekara, S.; Abrell, L.; Gao, X.; Chefetz, B.; Chorover, J., Complexation of trace organic contaminants with fractionated dissolved organic matter: Implications for mass spectrometric quantification. Chemosphere, 2013,91, 344–350.
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  • cals
  • pharmacy
  • science
  • engineering
  • NSF
  • awi
  • wsp
  • SBRP
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