Fast urbanization and improper waste treatment become question of concern in terms of the environment. It was previously shown that pharmaceuticals can enter water bodies via discharge from a waste water treatment plant‘s (WWTP). Consequently, all water body compartments may be influenced by the contaminated water.

Plenty of studies were done to understand behaviour of pharmaceuticalsand their metabolites (PTMs) in different matrices and their effect on living organisms, but usually they were done under controlled laboratory conditions.

In our study, we aimed to investigate fate of PTMs in the real aquatic environment represented by pond fed mainly with treated wastewater, as a worst case scenario. During a one year study, a complex approach including water, sediment and fish liver monitoring was used in our study to describe the behaviour of PTMs.

As a result, 23 compounds (18 pharmaceuticals and 7 their metabolites) were found in all studied matrices. Seasonal variations in all parameters and concentrations were also investigated.

The partitioning of contaminants between pond compartments was estimated by means of solid water distribution coefficients (Kd) and bioaccumulation factors (BAF) for the livers of fish. Kd values were almost stable throughout the year, which may be a sign of the continuous transport of PTMs between water and sediment. This observation should be taken into account in case of pond sediments application to agriculture fields, because contaminants may be later transported with natural precipitation to the lower soil layers, ground water, plants, etc. Almost all of the studied compounds, with exception of sertraline (BAF of 6200), were not bioaccumulative in fish livers. Further aspect, such as fish health status, reproduction are needed to be investigated.

A pond may be considered as a natural treatment system, where different processes occur, such as photodegradation, interaction between water and the atmosphere, sedimentation processes, biodegradation, etc. The pond removal efficiency was calculated for all PTMs, and favourable conditions for natural pharmaceutical removal were proposed.

Further details can be found in the following publication: Koba, O., Grabicova, K., Cerveny, D., Turek, J., Kolarova, J., Randak, T., Zlabek, V., Grabic, R., 2018. Transport of pharmaceuticals and their metabolites between water and sediments as a further potential exposure for aquatic organisms. Journal of Hazardous Materials 342: 401–407. (IF 2016 = 6,065).