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Free Content The Fate of Estrogenic Hormones in an Engineered Treatment Wetland with Dense Macrophytes

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Recently, the estrogenic hormones 17β-estradiol (E2) and 17α-ethinyl estradiol (EE2) have been detected in municipal wastewater effluent and surface waters at concentrations sufficient to cause feminization of male fish. To evaluate the fate of steroid hormones in an engineered treatment wetland, lithium chloride, E2, and EE2 were added to a treatment wetland test cell. Comparison of hormone and tracer data indicated that 36% of the E2 and 41% of the EE2 were removed during the cell's 84-h hydraulic retention time (HRT). The observed attenuation was most likely the result of sorption to hydrophobic surfaces in the wetland coupled with biotransformation. Sorption was indicated by the retardation of the hormones relative to the conservative tracer. Biotransformation was indicated by elevated concentrations of the E2 metabolite, estrone. It may be possible to improve the removal efficiency by increasing the HRT or the density of plant materials.

Keywords: endocrine disruption; engineered treatment wetlands; estradiol; ethinyl estradiol

Document Type: Research Article


Publication date: January 1, 2005

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  • Water Environment Research® (WER®) publishes peer-reviewed research papers, research notes, state-of-the-art and critical reviews on original, fundamental and applied research in all scientific and technical areas related to water quality, pollution control, and management. An annual Literature Review provides a review of published books and articles on water quality topics from the previous year.

    Published as: Sewage Works Journal, 1928 - 1949; Sewage and Industrial Wastes, 1950 - 1959; Journal Water Pollution Control Federation, 1959 - Oct 1989; Research Journal Water Pollution Control Federation, Nov 1989 - 1991; Water Environment Research, 1992 - present.
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