Investigation and modelling of the behaviour of sulphonamides in groundwater


Head of working group

Prof. Dr. Gudrun Massmann


AG Hydrogeology and Landscape Hydrology
IBU, Fk. V, Building A1 
Carl von Ossietzky Universität 
D-26111 Oldenburg


Renate Kettmann 
Room: A1 1-130 
Phone: ++49 (0) 441 / 798 - 4236 
Fax: ++49 (0) 441 / 798 -3769 

Investigation and modelling of the behaviour of sulphonamides in groundwater

Investigation and modelling of the behaviour of sulphonamides in groundwater

Description of the project

The p-TSA (para-toluenesulfonic acid amide) ubiquitously present in the Berlin water cycle is not or hardly sorbed and is degraded in the waterworks under the presence of oxygen. A prerequisite for the degradation of the sulfonamide p-TSA seems to be the presence of oxygen. The anoxic groundwater in the effluent of a former sewage farm  contains, in addition to ammonium as the main contaminant, sometimes considerable concentrations of p-TSA (up to 38 µg/l). The presence of p-TSA in high concentrations in combination with the fact that sewage farm cultivation has been terminated for  decades suggests that p-TSA behaves persistently and conservatively under the given redox conditions. Due to this fact, p-TSA is an ideal indicator for the contamination with organic trace substances at the site, especially since it is  found in the highest concentrations of all organic trace substances investigated. The aim of the project is (i)  the collection and interpretation of the collected terrain data at a pilot plant for ammonium degradation by  oxygen injection, (ii) determination of site-specific reaction rates, (iii) reactive transport modelling of the degradation of the sulfonamides in a sub-area (eastern end) of the pilot plant, (iv) identification of relevant metabolites of p-TSA and other sulfonamides formed during aerobic degradation and (v) estimation/forecast of the future  hazard potential of the sulfonamides (especially p-TSA) and relevant metabolites for the waterworks.


Berliner Wasserbetriebe; Free University of Berlin, working group Hydrogeology


Berliner Wasserbetriebe

Person in charge

Raffaella Meffe (FUB 2011): "Fate of Para-Toluenesulfonamide (p-TSA) during drinking water treatment and in-situ enhanced remediation: Column experiments, field study and numerical modelling"


Meffe, R, Kohfahl, C., Holzbecher, E., Massmann, G., Richter, D., Dünnbier, U., Pekdeger, A. (2010). Modelling the removal of p-TSA (para-toluenesulfonamide) during rapid sand filtration used for drinking water treatment. Water Research 44(1): 205-213

Meffe, R., Massmann, G., Taute, T., Kohfahl, C., Richter, D., Dünnbier, U., Pekdeger, A. (2012). Investigating the redox sensitivity of para-toluenesulfonamide (p-TSA) in groundwater. Environ Earth Sci. 65(3): 861-870

Meffe, R., Kohfahl, C., Hamann, E., Greskowiak, G., Massmann, G., Dünnbier, U., Pekdeger, A. (2013). Fate of para-toluenesulfonamide (p-TSA) in groundwater under anoxic conditions: modelling results from a field site in Berlin (Germany). Environm. Sci. and Poll. Res. DOI 10.1007/s11356-013-1902-8

(Changed: 02 Feb 2024)  | 
Zum Seitananfang scrollen Scroll to the top of the page