Sorption and degradation potential of pharmaceuticals in sediments from a stormwater retention pond

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Stormwater retention ponds commonly receive some wastewater through misconnections, sewer leaks, and sewer overloads, all of which leads to unintended loads of organic micropollutants, including pharmaceuticals. This study explores the role of pond sediment in removing pharmaceuticals (naproxen, carbamazepine, sulfamethoxazole, furosemide, and fenofibrate). It quantifies their sorption potential to the sediments and how it depends on pH. Then it addresses the degradability of the pharmaceuticals in microcosms holding sediment beds and pond water. The sediment-water partitioning coefficient of fenofibrate varied little with pH and was the highest (average log Kd: 4.42 L kg−1). Sulfamethoxazole had the lowest (average log Kd: 0.80 L kg−1), varying unsystematically with pH. The coefficients of naproxen, furosemide and carbamazepine were in between. The degradation by the sediments was most pronounced for sulfamethoxazole, followed by naproxen, fenofibrate, furosemide, and carbamazepine. The first three were all removed from the water phase with half-life of 2–8 days. Over the 38 days the experiment lasted, they were all degraded to near completion. The latter two were more resistant, with half-lives between 1 and 2 months. Overall, the study indicated that stormwater retention ponds have the potential to remove some but not all pharmaceuticals contained in wastewater contributions.
Original languageEnglish
Article number526
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 5 Mar 2019


  • Emerging micropollutant
  • Wastewater
  • Constructed pond
  • Sediment bed
  • Microcosm


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