Sorption behaviours and transport potentials for selected pharmaceuticals and triclosan in two sterilised soils

Revitt, D. Mike, Balogh, Tamas and Jones, Huw ORCID logoORCID: (2015) Sorption behaviours and transport potentials for selected pharmaceuticals and triclosan in two sterilised soils. Journal of Soils and Sediments, 15 (3) . pp. 594-606. ISSN 1439-0108 [Article] (doi:10.1007/s11368-014-1025-y)

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Purpose: Pharmaceuticals and personal care products (PPCPs) are emerging environmental pollutants, which in addition to direct deposition processes, can find their way into surface soils through the agricultural application of sewage sludge and irrigation practices using contaminated wastewater. Therefore, it is important to assess the extent to which soils are able to retain PPCPs and to prevent their downward migration towards groundwaters. Materials and methods: To further our understanding in this area, batch sorption experiments and artificial rainwater leaching experiments have been performed using five compounds (bezafibrate, carbamazepine, chloramphenicol, diclofenac and triclosan) possessing a range of physicochemical properties in two soils with differing acidities and organic carbon contents.
Results and discussion: The determined Koc values for triclosan and diclofenac consistently demonstrated their lower potential mobilities in both soils. The predicted high mobility of chloramphenicol is supported by its efficient leaching potential (89-100%) in both soils whereas bezafibrate, diclofenac and carbamazepine demonstrate slightly lower affinities for the leachate (61-96%) for soil A and are strongly retained (>99%) by soil B. The amount of PPCP in the leachate, the rate of leaching and the depth of soil penetration are explained in terms of the soil characteristics and the properties of the individual PPCPs (such as solubility and pKa) with soil organic content being shown to be a critical factor controlling the ability of a soil to retain a PPCP in the surface layers.
Conclusions: The findings contribute to the scientific knowledge required by practitioners and regulators as they consider future sub-soil contamination by PPCPs and subsequent possible threats to groundwater resources and surface water habitats.

Item Type: Article
Keywords (uncontrolled): Batch sorption experiments • Distribution coefficients • Leaching potentials • Pharmaceuticals and personal care products • Soil depth distributions • Soil mobilities
Research Areas: A. > School of Science and Technology > Natural Sciences
Item ID: 14392
Notes on copyright: This is a post-peer-review, pre-copyedit version of an article published in Journal of Soils and Sediments. The final authenticated version is available online at:
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Depositing User: Mike Revitt
Date Deposited: 10 Mar 2015 18:20
Last Modified: 14 Mar 2021 16:35

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