The University of Arizona
SWES dept logo Environmental Biogeochemistry Group Sabino Canyon in fall color
Department of Soil, Water and Environmental Science

Research Project:

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

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.

Group Contacts:
Selene Hernández Ruiz and Jon Chorover  


Dr. Benyamin Chefetz (Hebrew University of Jerusalem)

Funding Source:

Binational Agricultural Research and Development (BARD) Program  

Selected Project References (click here for full publication list):




Updated January 28, 2009

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