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Chemosphere. 2011 Nov;85(8):1331-9. doi: 10.1016/j.chemosphere.2011.07.051. Epub 2011 Aug 30.

Occurrence and distribution of pharmaceuticals in surface water, suspended solids and sediments of the Ebro river basin, Spain.

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Department of Environmental Chemistry, Institute of Environmental Assessment and Water Research, Spanish Council for Scientific Research, Jordi Girona 18-26, 08034 Barcelona, Spain.


The occurrence of 43 pharmaceuticals belonging to predominant therapeutic classes and their distribution in surface water, suspended solids and sediments has been investigated in the Ebro river basin in the Northeast of Spain. WWTP effluents were found to be a main source of contamination and the spatial distribution was affected by the river flow at the sampling point and corresponding dilution factor, resulting in higher concentrations and higher loads in small tributary rivers than in the Ebro river. The study showed that some compounds are preferentially found bound to suspended solids and not detected in river water. Generally, compounds with basic characteristics (pKa > 7) showed higher tendency to bind to suspended solids. The sediment samples generally presented lower concentrations than suspended solids.

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