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Title: OCCURRENCE AND BIODEGRADABILITY OF EMERGING POLLUTANTS IN THE JORDAN VALLEY

Author: A. Tiehm, N. Schmidt, M. Stieber, F. Sacher, L. Wolf and H. Hoetzl

Year: 2009

Publisher: European Water Resources Association (EWRA)

Description:

In particular in arid regions the reuse of waste water is an important issue. Elimination of persistent emerging pollutants represents a key factor in integrated water resources management in arid regions, and identifying suitable treatment processes to eliminate such compounds becomes inevitably necessary. As part of the SMART Jordan Valley project, new integrated approaches for water management, aquifer recharge, and waste water reuse are developed. It is the objective of this study (i) to assess the occurrence of emerging pollutants in the Jordan valley and (ii) to review and examine the biodegradability of selected key compounds. Among the most frequently detected compounds during a sampling campaign in 2007 were pharmaceutical residues such as carbamazepine, diclofenac, or naproxen, and X-ray contrast agents such as diatrizoic acid and iopromide, all typically found in Europe and the US as well. To gain further insight into elimination processes, biodegradation studies were conducted with batch tests and flow-through soil columns under unsaturated, aerobic conditions.
Results demonstrated biodegradation for pharmaceutical residues such as ibuprofen, diclofenac, bezafibrate, or naproxen. The degradation rate was faster in waste water treatment plant effluent as compared to raw waste water, most probably due to competing substrate consumption in raw waste water. The antiepileptic carbamazepine was not degraded in the batch tests and showed only moderate removal during soil passage, probably due to sorption. The results of this study and previously published data emphasize the need for further studies under more defined conditions to elucidate the specific conditions under which biodegradation of emerging pollutants is possible.