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A review of selected microcontaminants and microorganisms in land runoff and tile drainage in treated sludge-amended soils

A. Ghirardini, P. Verlicchi
Science of the total environment 2019 v.655 pp. 939-957
Escherichia coli, acetaminophen, antibiotics, antiseptics, bacteria, gemfibrozil, hormones, ibuprofen, odors, pollutants, rain intensity, runoff, rural areas, sewage sludge, soil amendments, soil pollution, soil properties, sulfamethoxazole, surface water, tile drainage, triclosan, water quality, Australia, Canada, Ireland, United States
The objective of this study is to provide a snapshot of the quality of surface runoff and tile drainage in sludge-amended soil in terms of 57 microcontaminants, including pharmaceuticals, hormones and fragrances, and 5 different species of bacteria. It also discusses the main factors affecting their occurrence (soil characteristics, applied sludge load and rate, sludge application method, rain intensity and frequency). It is based on 38 investigations carried out by different research groups in Canada, Australia, the USA and Ireland. The most frequently investigated compounds were hormones, the antiseptics triclosan and triclocarban, the analgesics and anti-inflammatories acetaminophen, ibuprofen and naproxen, the antibiotic sulfamethoxazole, the lipid regulator gemfibrozil and the psychiatric drug carbamazepine. Of all the bacteria, E. coli was the most monitored species. It was found that concentrations of the studied pollutants in surface runoff and tile drainage may vary, depending on many factors. They are generally lower than those observed in the secondary municipal effluent and in surface water, but their contribution to the deterioration of surface water quality might be relevant, mainly in wide rural areas. In this context, the reported data or their ranges represent an attempt to provide reference thresholds and bands of observed concentrations for a rough estimation of the contribution made by the release of the selected pollutants into surface water bodies via surface runoff and tile drainage.