Mecoprop (MCPP) removal in full-scale rapid sand filters at a groundwater-based waterworks

Sci Total Environ. 2014 Nov 15;499:257-64. doi: 10.1016/j.scitotenv.2014.08.052. Epub 2014 Sep 3.


Contamination by the herbicide mecoprop (MCPP) was detected in groundwater abstraction wells at Kerteminde Waterworks in concentrations up to 0.08μg/L. MCPP was removed to below detection limit in a simple treatment line where anaerobic groundwater was aerated and subsequently filtered by primary and secondary rapid sand filters. Water quality parameters were measured throughout the waterworks, and they behaved as designed for. MCPP was removed in secondary rapid sand filters--removal was the greatest in the sand filters in the filter line with the highest contact time (63 min). In these secondary sand filters, MCPP concentration decreased from 0.037 μg/L to below the detection limit of 0.01 μg/L. MCPP was removed continuously at different filter depths (0.80 m). Additionally, biodegradation, mineralisation and adsorption were investigated in the laboratory in order to elucidate removal mechanisms in the full-scale system. Therefore, microcosms were set up with filter sand, water and (14)C-labelled MCPP at an initial concentration of 0.2 μg/L. After 24 h, 79-86% of the initial concentration of MCPP was removed. Sorption removed 11-15%, while the remaining part was removed by microbial processes, leading to a complete mineralisation of 13-18%. Microbial removal in the filter sand was similar at different depths of the rapid sand filter, while the amount of MCPP which adsorbed to the filter sand after 48 h decreased with depth from 21% of the initial MCPP in the top layer to 7% in the bottom layer. It was concluded that MCPP was removed in secondary rapid sand filters at Kerteminde Waterworks, to which both adsorption and microbial degradation contributed.

Keywords: Groundwater; MCPP; Pesticides; Rapid sand filter; Removal; Waterworks.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • 2-Methyl-4-chlorophenoxyacetic Acid / analogs & derivatives*
  • 2-Methyl-4-chlorophenoxyacetic Acid / analysis
  • Filtration
  • Groundwater / chemistry*
  • Silicon Dioxide / chemistry
  • Waste Disposal, Fluid / methods
  • Water Pollutants, Chemical / analysis*
  • Water Purification / methods*


  • Water Pollutants, Chemical
  • mecoprop
  • Silicon Dioxide
  • 2-Methyl-4-chlorophenoxyacetic Acid