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STAR Grant R829007 - Occurrence and Fate of Pharmaceuticals and Personal Care Products in Groundwater Environments (2001 - 2004)

Project Purpose:
A combination of field and laboratory approaches will be used to characterize the occurrence and fate of pharmaceuticals and personal care products (PPCPs) in groundwaters. The vulnerability of groundwaters to contamination with PPCP discharges will be studied by comparing the groundwater distributions of PPCPs in areas of different land use (i.e., sewered vs. unsewered residential communities) and by determining distributions in groundwaters affected by known point source of PPCPs to the subsurface (sewage treatment plant discharges, landfill leachates, and cesspools). Laboratory sorption and transformation studies will support interpretations and test hypotheses generated from the field data.

Project Description(s):
The primary objectives of the proposed study are to: (1) determine the distribution of a wide range of highly used or toxicologically significant PPCPs and environmental estrogens in point source discharges and in groundwaters that receive those discharges; and (2) assess the likelihood of migration of PPCPs through sand-gravel aquifers using a combination of field observations and laboratory studies.

The secondary objectives are to: (1) develop new HPLC-MS methods to determine conjugated steroid hormone metabolites in wastewater effluent and groundwaters to determine the possible role of these conjugates in solubilizing and transporting hormones in groundwaters; and (2) compare the distribution and likely behavior of PPCPs in subsurface environments with that observed in surface waters. This will help determine the relative risks associated with discharge of human wastes to these two environments.

Project Outcomes:
Final report: Occurrence and Fate of Pharmaceuticals and Personal Care Products in Groundwater Environments

Angela Page at page.angelad@epa.gov

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