TRACING PHARMACEUTICALS FROM URINE THROUGH WASTEWATER TREATMENT PLANTS AND ASSESSMENT OF THEIR POTENTIAL TRANSFER TO EDIBLE CROPS
MetadataShow full item record
As pharmaceutical usage is increasing, they are becoming increasingly ubiquitous in the environment. The synergistic effects associated with chronic exposure is still being realized, but certain pharmaceutical classes are closely associated with increase of antibiotic resistant genes (ARGs) and adverse psychological effects in aquatic organisms. Consequently, it is critical to understand the levels being released as a result of current practices and to be proactive in anticipating and investigating new routes of exposure. The research presented here investigates pharmaceutical fate from both regulatory and exploratory sources, including conventional full-scale and advanced pilot-scale wastewater treatment processes, and common and novel fertilizing techniques by liquid chromatography tandem mass spectrometry (LC-MS/MS). Sample extraction and instrument methods were developed, optimized, and validated. Conventional and advanced wastewater treatment plant (WWTP) stages across 5 WWTPs were investigated for removal efficiency of pharmaceuticals, and a deeper look was taken at an advanced ozonation WWTP process in order to identify transformation products of antidepressants. Next, the fate of pharmaceuticals in human urine when it was processed and applied as an agricultural fertilizer was investigated. Lastly, young maize plants were grown in manure-amended soil and plant uptake and occurrence of ARGs was explored.