Removal mechanisms of endocrine disrupting compounds (steroids) during soil aquifer treatment

J. Mansell, J. E. Drewes, T. Rauch

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

43 Scopus citations


The objective of this study was to determine the primary removal mechanisms of endocrine disruptors such as steroidal hormones present in reclaimed water, specifically 17β-estradiol, estriol, and testosterone, during groundwater recharge via soil aquifer treatment (SAT). Steroidal hormones were quantified using enzyme-linked immunosorbent assays. Bench-scale studies and laboratory-scale soil column experiments were employed to determine what mechanisms (i.e., adsorption, biodegradation, photolytic degradation) dominate the removal of the three compounds of interest during SAT. Findings of these studies revealed that the dominating removal mechanism for the compounds of interest during SAT is adsorption to the porous media matrix and additional attenuation to below the detection limit occurred in the presence of bioactivity. This additional removal occurred regardless of dominating redox conditions (aerobic vs. anoxic) or the type of organic carbon matrix present (hydrophobic acids, hydrophilic carbon vs. colloidal carbon).

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)229-237
Number of pages9
JournalWater Science and Technology
Issue number2
StatePublished - 2004
Externally publishedYes


  • Endocrine disrupting compounds
  • Groundwater recharge
  • Soil-aquifer treatment
  • Steroidal hormones
  • Water reuse


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