Publication Date


Type of Culminating Activity


Degree Title

Master of Science in Civil Engineering


Civil Engineering

Major Advisor

George A. Murgel, Ph.D., P.E.


Pharmaceuticals and personal care products (PPCPs) are biologically active, organic chemicals that are introduced into the environment through wastewater streams. These chemicals are being found in the environment in trace concentrations and are of concern due to their unknown potential for harm to the health and welfare of the environment. The hypothesis is that during the course of wastewater treatment in a municipal lagoon system from a small community, PPCPs are seeping into ground water resulting in chronic low exposure in the environment. The objective of this work was to study a specific wastewater lagoon treatment system in Mountain Home, Idaho and the surrounding ground water for PPCPs. Water samples were taken from influent, lagoons, and surrounding ground water wells to look for presence of PPCPs. A conceptual model of the ground water flow was developed in order to link lagoon seepage to surrounding ground water wells. The ground water flow model combined with the sampling data was used to show that PPCPs are present in the lagoons and seeping into the ground water in very low yet detectable concentrations. PPCPs were detected in the samples from the headworks, in the storage lagoon, and in a monitoring well downgradient of the lagoon. Twelve PPCPs were tested and eleven were found in the headworks in concentrations up to 7,920 ng/L. Seven PPCPs were found in the storage lagoon in concentrations up to 880 ng/L. Six PPCPs were found in a downgradient monitoring well in concentrations up to 82 ng/L.