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.
The 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.
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.