Main content area

Characterizing redox conditions and monitoring attenuation of selected pharmaceuticals during artificial recharge through a reactive layer

Valhondo, Cristina, Carrera, Jesús, Ayora, Carlos, Tubau, Isabel, Martinez-Landa, Lurdes, Nödler, Karsten, Licha, Tobias
The Science of the total environment 2015 v.512-513 pp. 240-250
aquifers, basins, clay, composts, denitrification, detection limit, gemfibrozil, groundwater recharge, iron oxides, monitoring, organic compounds, organic matter, sorption, vadose zone, vegetables
A permeable reactive layer was installed at the floor of an infiltration basin. The reactive layer comprised 1) vegetable compost to provide a sorption surface for neutral organic compounds and to release easily degradable organic matter, thus generating a sequence of redox states, and 2) minor amounts of clay and iron oxide to increase sorption of cationic and anionic species, respectively. Field application of this design was successful in generating denitrification, and manganese-, and iron-reducing conditions beneath the basin. This, together with the increase in types of sorption sites, may explain the improved removal of three of the four selected pharmaceuticals compared with their behavior prior to installation of the layer. After installation of the reactive layer, atenolol concentrations were below the detection limits in the vadose zone. Moreover, concentrations of gemfibrozil and cetirizine were reduced to 20% and 40% of their initial concentrations, respectively, after 200h of residence time. In contrast, prior to installation of the reactive layer, the concentrations of these three pharmaceuticals in both the vadose zone and the aquifer were more than 60% of the initial concentration. Carbamazepine exhibited recalcitrant behavior both prior to and after the reactive barrier installation.