Human pharmaceuticals, mainly originating from wastewater treatment plants, have been detected in many rivers and streams. The most important processes leading to their attenuation in the environment are
microbial degradation and photodegradation. While there exist a lot of studies on photodegradation of pharmaceuticals in aqueous solutions and river waters, knowledge on the importance of microbiological degradation specially in river sediments is still limited. Data derived from field experiments are rare. Moreover, there are almost no system oriented studies available that are necessary to derive the necessary parameters.
In this project, a system oriented approach will be used while analysing all relevant pathways of elimination and transport with consistent experimental methods. The overall aim of the project is to quantify in-situ degradation rates of selected acidic pharmaceuticals in river sediment. Moreover, the dynamics of pharmaceutical concentration in river water and sediment will be analyzed on different time scales. To
this end, two intense monitoring campaigns will be carried out at a stretch of the river "Roter Main", allowing for the calculation of mass balances for the whole river section. This will be accompanied by a longer monitoring campaign along the river stretch and laboratory experiments to determine degradation rate constants and sorption coefficients in the river sediment.
|Kunkel, U; Radke, M: A reactive tracer test to evaluate the fate of pharmaceuticals in rivers, Environmental Science Technology, 45(15), 6296-6302 (2011) [Link]|
|Radke, M; Ulrich, H; Wurm, C; Kunkel, U: Dynamics and attenuation of acidic pharmaceuticals along a river stretch, Environmental Science & Technology, 44(8), 2968–2974 (2010), doi:10.1021/es903091z|
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