The fate, transport, and impact of estrogens applied during wastewater irrigatio

Heather Gall, Herschel Elliott

Research output: Contribution to specialist publicationArticle


Two research groups in Penn State's Department of Agricultural and Biological Engineering are trying to understand the fate, transport, and threats of estrogens contained in the irrigated wastewater. Herschel Elliott and his graduate student, Senorpe Asem-Hiablie, recently completed an assessment of the potential for estrogens to reach the aquifer beneath the Living Filter. To study undisturbed soil profiles, cube-shaped steel casings were driven into the ground, excavated, and used as lysimeters to evaluate the vertical transport of three estrogens. Effluent spiked with the estrogens and an inert tracer was applied to the lysimeters at the actual irrigation rate, and the leachate was monitored for six months. Leachate estrogen levels were generally less than 10% of the applied concentrations, suggesting that sorption to soils significantly retards subsurface transport of estrogens. Gall, Mina, and their collaborators have identified seven vernal pool sites across an agricultural impact gradient, with the Living Filter sites among those most impacted by agricultural activities.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Number of pages2
Specialist publicationResource: Engineering and Technology for Sustainable World
StatePublished - Jan 1 2014

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Biotechnology
  • Agricultural and Biological Sciences(all)
  • Engineering(all)


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