PPCPs: Extending Knowledge and Mitigation Strategies

Wastewater treatment plants (WWTPs) and concentrated animal feeding operations (CAFOs) are identified to be point sources for discharging PPCPs and hormones into the environment.

suspended solids and liquid from the aeration take are poured from a sampling bucket into a 4-liter amber glass sample bottle

Collecting treated wastewater effluent from the Urbana WWTP

In July 2014, the University of Illinois Extension awarded a two-year grant to Dr. Wei Zheng and Nancy Holm, along with collaborators Laura Kammin from the Illinois-Indiana Sea Grant Program and Michael Plewa of the U of I Dept. of Crop Sciences, for a research/outreach project titled “Pharmaceuticals and Personal Care Products: Extending Knowledge and Mitigation Strategies.” Zheng’s team has several objectives for this study:

  • Developing better analytical methods to measure the presence of PPCPs and hormones in water
  • Determining their concentrations at WWTPs and CAFOs
  • Investigating their fate and transport in water and soil
  • Developing methods for remediating or mitigating PPCP and hormone contamination
  • Examining microbial resistance to PPCPs in bacteria from receiving waters

In addition, this grant provides for education and outreach activities emphasizing the proper disposal of PPCPs. It also supports expansion of PPCP disposal drop-boxes throughout the state, an effort which is being led by the IL-IN Sea Grant.