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Herbicide and antibiotic removal by woodchip denitification filters: Sorption processes

Ilhan, Zehra Esra, Ong, Say Kee, Moorman, Thomas B.
Water, air, and soil pollution 2012 v.223 pp. 2651
antibiotics, atrazine, biofilters, denitrification, desorption, drainage water, enrofloxacin, nitrates, pollutants, tile drainage, water pollution, wood chips, Gulf of Mexico
In situ denitrification walls and biofilters made of wood chips are being implemented as innovative technologies for the removal of nitrates in tile drainage water from farms to reduce pollution of surface waters and the hypoxia problem in the Gulf of Mexico. Although fairly effective in removing nitrates, not much is known about the effectiveness of the biofilters in removal of herbicides, pesticides, and antibiotics in the drainage water. Using weathered wood chips obtained from an in situ denitrification wall, four common pollutants tested sorbed strongly to wood chips in the following order: enrofloxacin > monensin A > atrazine > sulfamethazine. Of the four chemicals tested, enrofloxacin was found to desorb the least by water extraction. The apparent hysteresis index for atrazine was found to be lower than that for enrofloxacin and sulfamethazine indicating greater sorption–desorption hysteresis for atrazine than enrofloxacin and sulfamethazine. Consecutive steps of water desorption and organic solvent extraction indicated that more than 65% of the sorbed atrazine, 70% of sulfamethazine, 90% of enrofloxacin, and 80% of monensin A were retained in wood chips. Results of this study showed that wood chip denitrification walls or biofilters have an added benefit in retaining herbicides and antibiotics and therefore can act as a barrier to reduce pollution of surface water and groundwater.