Modeling carbamazepine transport in wastewater-irrigated soil under different land uses

Lana Filipović, Vilim Filipović, Charles W. Walker, Clinton Williams, Heather E. Preisdanz, John E. Watson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Scopus citations


The pharmaceutical compound carbamazepine (CBZ) is a contaminant of emerging concern. Wastewater irrigation can be a long-term, frequent source of CBZ; therefore, understanding the fate and transport of CBZ as a result of wastewater reuse practices has important environmental implications. The objective of this study was to estimate long-term soil transport of CBZ originating from treated wastewater irrigation on plots under different land uses. Field data from a previous study comparing CBZ concentrations in soil under different land uses were used in numerical modeling with HYDRUS-2D for the estimation of CBZ soil transport during 20 yr of irrigation with treated wastewater. This study showed high CBZ retention in soil under all investigated land uses. Adequate modeling results were obtained by using soil organic carbon–water partitioning coefficient (Koc) for the CBZ linear sorption coefficient (Kd) estimation, yet an underestimation of CBZ concentration in soil was still noted. Thus, results suggest that, although highly important, organic carbon content is probably not the only soil property governing CBZ sorption at this site, indicating the potential research perspective. Modeling results showed wastewater irrigation containing CBZ for 20 yr increased the CBZ concentration in the soil profile and its vertical movement, with the slowest vertical transport rate occurring on the forested plots. Overall results suggest that a beneficial management practice could be to increase soil organic carbon (e.g., compost addition) when using treated wastewater for irrigation in order to retain CBZ in the surface soil and thus limit its leaching through the soil profile.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1011-1019
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Environmental Quality
Issue number4
StatePublished - Jul 1 2020

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Environmental Engineering
  • Water Science and Technology
  • Waste Management and Disposal
  • Pollution
  • Management, Monitoring, Policy and Law


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