Occurrence and spatial distribution of emerging contaminants in the unsaturated zone. Case study: Guadalete River basin (Cadiz, Spain)
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Irrigation with reclaimed water is becoming a common practice in arid- and semi-arid regions as a consequence of structural water resource scarcity. This practice can lead to contamination of the vadose zone if sewage-derived contaminants are not removed properly. In the current work, we have characterized soils from the Guadalete River basin (SW Spain), which are often irrigated with reclaimed water from a nearby wastewater treatment plant and amended using sludge. Physico-chemical, mineralogical and hydraulic properties were measured in soil samples from this area (from surface up to 2 m depth). Emerging contaminants (synthetic surfactants and pharmaceutically active compounds, or PhACs) were also determined. Synthetic surfactants, widely used in personal care products (PCPs), were found in a wide range of concentrations: 73–1300 µg kg-1 for linear alkylbenzene sulfonates (LAS), 120–496 µg kg-1 for alkyl ethoxysulfates (AES), 19–1090 µg kg-1 for alcohol polyethoxylates (AEOs), and 155–280 µg kg-1 for nonylphenol polyethoxylates (NPEOs). The presence of surfactant homologues with longer alkyl chains was predominant due to their sorption capacity. A positive correlation was found between LAS and AEOs and soil organic carbon and clay content, respectively. Out of 64 PhACs analyzed, only 7 were detected occasionally (diclofenac, metoprolol, fenofibrate, carbamazepine, clarithromycin, famotidine and hydrochlorothiazide), always at very low concentrations (from 0.1 to 1.3 µg kg-1).
CitationCorada-Fernández, C., Jiménez, J., Candela, L., González-Mazo, E., Lara-Martín, P. Occurrence and spatial distribution of emerging contaminants in the unsaturated zone. Case study: Guadalete River basin (Cadiz, Spain). "Chemosphere", Gener 2015, vol. 119, núm. Supplement, p. S131-S137.