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Modelling the behaviour of 16 pharmceuticals during ponded aquifer recharge of treated effluent

THI THUY HANG NHAM1, JANEK GRESKOWIAK1, KARSTEN NÖDLER2, MOHAMMAD AZIZUR RAHMAN2, BERND RUSTEBERG2, THOMAS PTAK2, MARTIN SAUTER2, KLISTHENIS DIMITRIADIS3, THOMAS SPACHOS4, TOBIAS LICHA2, GUDRUN MASSMANN1
1 Department of Biology and Environmental Sciences, Carl von Ossietzky Universität, Ammerländer Heerstraβe 114-118, 26129 Oldenburg, Germany
2 Geoscience Centre, Applied Geology, University of Göttingen, Goldschmidstr. 3, 37077 Göttingen, Germany
3 Geoservice Ltd, Lykaiou St 35, 114 76 Athens, Greece
4 Thessaloniki Water Supply and Sewerage Co S.A, Egnatia St. 127, 546 45 Thessaloniki, Greece

P 1.7 in Numerische Simulation von Strömungs- und Transportprozessen in Grundwasserleitern und angrenzenden Kompartimenten

Soil-aquifer treatment (SAT) is a common application of managed aquifer recharge. It utilizes the natural filter and removel capacity of the soil and aquifer to enhance the quality of surface or (treated) waste water for later extraction and water supply. The increasing load of emerging organic contaminants such as pharmaceuticals, waste and surface waters, however, may pose a significant problem for managed aquifer recharge, since many of these substances are recalcitrant even to some degree during subsurface passage. As a result, some of them have already been detected in production wells of riverbank filtration and ponded infiltration systems. Even though the effect on human health has not yet been proven for the detected concentration range (i.e., ng/L to µg/L), the increasing detection of waste water orginated compounds is seen to be problematic for a safe water supply.

Predicting the fate of emerging compounds during managed aquifer recharge does not only require a sound understanding about the physical flow and transport processes, but also about the reactive behavior of these substances as a result of biodegradation and sorption processes. However, a detailed process identification at operational scale requires a comprehensive set of hydraulic and hydrogeochemical data (e.g., Greskowiak et al, 2006), which in practise, and thus outside focussed research projects, is rarely available. For practical considerations during managed aquifer recharge operation simple 1st order degradation rate constants and linear adsoprtion coefficients provide useful information to quantify the removal of problematic compounds for a first-pass assessment (e.g., Patterson et al., 2010). However, to date, only limited information about field scale biodegradation and adsoprtion parameters is available, raising the urgent need for more field experiments and their quantitative evaluation.

In the present study, a modell-based quantification of a field scale experiment on the transport behavior of sixteen selected pharmaceuticals during ponded aquifer recharge has been carried out. The experiment has been conducted at a test site in an alluvial aquifer using conventionally treated effluent. With the help of transient flow and reactive transport modelling robust field scale biodegradation and adsorption parameters could be extracted.

Experimental work was funded by the European Commission within the GABARDINE project (518118-1).



Greskowiak, J., Prommer, H., Massmann, G., Nützmann, G. (2006): Modelling seasonal redox dynamics and the corresponding fate of the pharmaceutical residue phenazone during artificial recharge of groundwater. Environ. Sci. Technol. 40(21), 6615 – 6621.

Patterson, B., Shackleton, M., Furness, A., pearce, j., descourvieres, c., linge, K., busetti, f., spadek, t. (2010):  Fate of nine recycled water trace organic contaminants and metal(loid)s during managed aquifer recharge into a anaerobic aquifer: Column studies. Water Res. 44, 1471 - 1481.

Letzte Änderung 31.10.2013