Detection of pharmaceuticals and other personal care products in groundwater beneath and adjacent to onsite wastewater treatment systems in a coastal plain shallow aquifer.


Journal Article

Onsite wastewater treatment systems (OWTS) are the predominant disposal method for human waste in areas without municipal sewage treatment alternatives. Relatively few studies have addressed the release of pharmaceuticals and personal care products (PPCPs) from OWTS to groundwater. PPCP fate and transport from OWTS are important, particularly where these systems are adjacent to sensitive aquatic ecosystems such as coastal areas or wetlands. The objectives of this study were to identify PPCPs in residential wastewater and groundwater beneath OWTS and to characterize the environmental conditions affecting the OWTS discharge of PPCPs to nearby streams. The study sites are in coastal plain aquifers, which may be considered vulnerable "end-members" for subsurface PPCP transport. The PPCPs most commonly detected in the OWTS, at concentrations ranging from 0.12 μg L(-1) to 12.04 μg L(-1) in the groundwater, included: caffeine, ibuprofen, DEET, and homosalate. Their presence was related to particulate and dissolved organic carbon abundance.

Full Text

Duke Authors

Cited Authors

  • Del Rosario, KL; Mitra, S; Humphrey, CP; O'Driscoll, MA

Published Date

  • July 2014

Published In

Volume / Issue

  • 487 /

Start / End Page

  • 216 - 223

PubMed ID

  • 24784746

Pubmed Central ID

  • 24784746

Electronic International Standard Serial Number (EISSN)

  • 1879-1026

International Standard Serial Number (ISSN)

  • 0048-9697

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

  • 10.1016/j.scitotenv.2014.03.135


  • eng