Skip to Main Content

The University of Tennessee University of Tennessee UT Institute of Agriculture

Frequently Used Tools:

Research Projects

Project Title

Presence, Persistence, and Fate of Triclosan, A Widely Used Commercial Antibacterial, in an On-site Wastewater Treatment System and Its Receiving Environment

Project Overview

Triclosan (TCS) is an antimicrobial agent added to various consumer care products such as toothpaste, soaps, mouthwash, and household cleaners as well as textiles including sportswear, shoes, and bathroom accessories. TCS is also incorporated into a number of children’s toys. Due to the increased desire for hygiene products by the public, TCS usage has increased over recent years. The primary pathway that this compound enters the environment is the washing of TCS products down-the-drain during their normal use. TCS has been found to persist in the environment for periods longer than once expected. Many studies have been conducted on the effectiveness of wastewater treatment plants in the removal of triclosan with varying results. However, research that explores the effectiveness of TCS removal in an on-site system is limited.

Project Objectives

The purpose of this project is to gain a wider understanding of the loss mechanisms associated with the dispersion of TCS in the environment via on-site wastewater systems.  Loss mechanisms include photodegradation, biological and chemical degradation, sorption into soil and sediment, and biological methylation.  This project will focus on the loss mechanisms associated with the transport of TCS through soil.  Effluent from on-site systems is dispersed throughout the soil in various ways as a means of treatment by soil filtration before reaching groundwater and other water bodies.  Understanding and characterizing this movement will aid in predicting its bioavailability allowing an assessment on the impact to the human, aquatic, and wildlife environment.

Project Pictures

Adrienne completed her Master of Science degree in Biosystems Engineering Technology in 2006. She graduated from Alabama A & M University with a Bachelor of Science degree in Biology. Her area of interest is public health.