BACKGROUND STUDIES FOR Wastewater Issues Get Wormy:
Survey of Organic Wastewater Contaminants in Biosolids Destined for Land Application. Chad A. Kinney, Edward T.
Furlong,* Steven D. Zaugg, Mark R. Burkhardt ...

In this study, the presence, composition, and concentrations of organic wastewater contaminants (OWCs) were
determined in solid materials produced during wastewater treatment. This study was undertaken to evaluate the
potential of these solids, collectively referred to as biosolids, as a source of OWCs to soil and water in contact with
soil. Nine different biosolid products, produced by municipal wastewater treatment plants in seven different states,
were analyzed for 87 different OWCs. Fifty-five of the OWCs were detected in at least one biosolid product. The 87
different OWCs represent a diverse cross section of emerging  organic contaminants that enter wastewater treatment
plants and may be discharged without being completely metabolized or degraded. A minimum of 30 and a maximum
of 45 OWCs were detected in any one biosolid. The biosolids used in this study are produced by several
production methods, and the plants they originate from have differing population demographics, yet the percent
composition of total OWC content, and of the most common OWCs, typically did not vary greatly between the biosolids
tested. The summed OWC content ranged from 64 to 1811 mg/kg dry weight. Six biosolids were collected twice,
3-18 months apart, and the total OWC content of each biosolid varied by less than a factor of 2. These results
indicate that the biosolids investigated in this study have OWC compositions and concentrations that are more similar
than different and that biosolids are highly enriched in OWCs (as mass-normalized concentrations) when compared
to effluents or effluent-impacted water. These results demonstrate the need to better describe the composition
and fate of OWCs in biosolids since about 50% of biosolids are land applied and thus become a potentially ubiquitous
nonpoint source of OWCs into the environment.

†National Water Quality Laboratory, U.S. Geological Survey, Denver Federal Center, P.O. Box 25046, Building 95, MS
Denver, Colorado 80225-0046
‡Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry, Eastern Washington University, Cheney, Washington 99004-2440, USA
(Received 11 March 2005; Accepted 15 July 2005)

Abstract—Three sites in the Front Range of Colorado, USA, were monitored from May through September 2003 to
assess the presence and distribution of pharmaceuticals in soil irrigated with reclaimed water derived from urban
wastewater. Soil cores were collected monthly, and 19 pharmaceuticals, all of which were detected during the present
study, were measured in 5-cm increments of the 30-cm cores. Samples of reclaimed water were analyzed three times
during the study to assess the input of pharmaceuticals. Samples collected before the onset of irrigation in 2003
contained numerous pharmaceuticals, likely resulting from the previous year’s irrigation. Several of the selected
pharmaceuticals increased in total soil concentration at one or more of the sites. The four most commonly detected
pharmaceuticals were erythromycin, carbamazepine, fluoxetine, and diphenhydramine. Typical concentrations
of the individual pharmaceuticals observed were low (0.02-15 mg/kg dry soil). The existence of subsurface maximum
concentrations and detectable concentrations at the lowest sampled soil depth might indicate interactions of soil
components with pharmaceuticals during leaching through the vadose zone. Nevertheless, the present study
demonstrates that reclaimed-water irrigation  results in soil pharmaceutical concentrations that vary through the
irrigation season and that some compounds persist for months after irrigation.
Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry, Vol. 25, No. 2, pp. 317-326, 2006
q 2006 SETAC, Printed in the USA, 0730-7268/06 $12.00 1 .00

Toxics Program Bibliography-Emerging Contaminants - Emerging Contaminants in the Environment
Investigations — Sources and Source Pathways Studies
Sources and ...... Presence and distribution of wastewater-derived pharmaceuticals in soil irrigated with reclaimed water:
Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry, v. ... -