Personal Care Products in Recycled Water?
Recycled irrigation water used for golf courses, parks, and other landscapes may contain small amounts pharmaceutical and personal care products. A two-year, field study demonstrated the ability of golf course fairway grasses to breakdown contaminants and prevents them from reaching groundwater.
scarcity of potable water in arid and semiarid environments has led to the
wider use of recycled water for irrigating golf courses, parks, and other
landscape areas. One concern using recycled water for irrigation has been the
presence of pharmaceutical and personal care products in water that may percolate
below the root zone of grasses; however, very few multiyear field studies are
available in the scientific literature.
Recycled wastewater from treatment facilities contains a wide range of pharmaceutical and personal care products. Although concentrations are extremely low, typically in parts per trillion, researchers investigated the fate of products found in recycled irrigation water applied to golf course fairways.
Recently, the Journal of Environmental Quality published a two-year field study that
assessed 13 pharmaceutical products in recycled irrigation water applied to the
fairways of four golf courses in the southwestern United States. The project,
initiated by the Northern California Golf Association and partially funded by
the USGA, demonstrates the ability of golf course grasses to breakdown an array
of pharmaceutical and personal care products.
golf course sites varied by climate and soil type but were similar regarding
turfgrass management. The results showed the presence of at least one
pharmaceutical compound in nearly all samples collected, although
concentrations were substantially lower after moving through the turf and soil.
The percent reduction for products in drainage water was 100% in 22 of 52
cases, 98 to 100% in 27 of 52 cases, and 73 to 94% in 3 of 52 cases (a case defined
as a specific compound measured at a specific site). Three of the 13 compounds
tested were the most commonly found in drainage water, representing nearly 80%
of all reportable detections. The amount migrating below the root zone was less
than 0.0036 ounces per acre (<250 mg ha−1) for all compounds. This
is roughly a single pill spread out over an entire football field. The field studies
demonstrate the ability of golf course
fairway grasses to breakdown contaminants
and prevent them from reaching groundwater.
Monitoring of Pharmaceutical Compounds Applied to Active Golf Courses by
pharmaceuticals, personal care products, and endocrine-disrupting compounds by
golf courses using reuse water
Leaching of Pharmaceuticals and Personal Care Products in Turfgrass Soils
during Recycled Water Irrigation
Using recycled water at your course: Assessing the fate of personal care
products, pharmaceuticals, and endocrine disrupting compounds
transport of thirteen pharmaceutical and personal care products in a controlled
irrigated turfgrass system
Acknowledgements: This research was supported by Water Environment Research Foundation and
the Water Reuse Research Foundation, with additional funding provided by 28
water or sanitation agencies, and other interested agencies or organizations,
including the USGA.