Sorption and degradation rates of Emerging Organic Contaminants in well controlled laboratory experiment

Aleksandra Kiecak1, Christine Stumpp1
1 Institut für Grundwasserökologie, Helmholtz Zentrum München

P 11.6 in Identification of hydrogeological processes using trace compounds



Pharmaceuticals belong to Emerging Organic Contaminants (EOCs) and their presence in the environment has been recognized as a potential environmental threat. Over the last dozen of years, pharmaceutical compounds raised a high concern from the population and the water managers, as it was found in many water bodies all around Europe. Though they represent a great public health concern, their transfer and fate are not yet well known in water bodies. Improving the understanding of observed EOCs-concentration patterns in heterogeneous and dynamic field studies requires the knowledge of crucial processes and parameters that are, however, difficult to determine at complex field sites. Therefore, laboratory experiments can help to identify sorption and biodegradation parameters. The task of the presented work was to determine the sorption parameters and degradation rates of selected EOCs in controlled laboratory experiments. In particular the impact of flow velocities on sorption and degradation rates of EOCs was studied. For the experiments, different sediment types from selected field sites were filled into columns. Conservative tracers and EOCs were injected into the columns as a pulse and concentration curves were measured at the columns’ outlet. From the tracer breakthrough curves information about sorption and degradation rates for the different sediments and EOCs was determined and the impact of variable flow conditions assessed. The results will help to better understand the fate of EOCs under hydrodynamic conditions in heterogeneous sediments.