Analysis of some pharmaceuticals in surface water in Jordan

Othman A. Al-Mashaqbeh, Ayoup M. Ghrair, Diya Alsafadi, Sahar S. Dalahmeh, Shannon L. Bartelt-Hunt, Daniel D. Snow

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


A quantitative assessment of pharmaceuticals in surface water in Jordan was conducted using liquid chromatography-tandem mass spectrometry (LC-MS/MS) to evaluate the occurrence, source and distribution of 18 pharmaceutical compounds. Grab samples were collected in the summer from the effluent of two dams in Jordan. Among all of the pharmaceuticals analyzed, the results showed that 10 pharmaceutical compounds were detected in the effluent of King Talal Dam including 1,7-dimethylxanthine, acetaminophen, amphetamine, caffeine, carbamazepine, cotinine, phenazone, sulfamethoxazole, sulfamethazine, trimethoprim. However, four pharmaceutical compounds detected in the effluent of Mujib Dam include 1,7-dimethylxanthine, caffeine, cotinine, phenazone. Moreover, eight pharmaceutical compounds were not detected in both dams (<0.005 µg/L) including cimetidine, diphenhydramine, MDA, MDMA, methamphetamine, morphine, sulfachloropyr-idazine and thiabendazole. The results also indicated that the compound detected at the highest concentration levels in King Talal Dam was carbamazepine at concentration of 0.358 µg/L. It is very clear that the occurrence of pharmaceuticals at King Talal Dam is higher than in Mujib Dam. This is mainly due to the fact that King Talal Dam is receiving runoff water and treated wastewater from the wastewater treatment plant (WWTP), while the Mujib Dam is only receiving surface runoff water. This is consistent with many studies reported in the literature that municipal WWTPs are considered a primary source for the discharge of pharmaceuticals and personal care products into surface waters.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)38-44
Number of pages7
JournalDesalination and Water Treatment
StatePublished - Feb 2020


  • Jordan
  • Pharmaceuticals and personal care products
  • Surface water

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Water Science and Technology
  • Ocean Engineering
  • Pollution


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