Occurrence and removal efficiencies of 13 pharmaceuticals and personal care products (PPCPs) as well as BOD5, TSS and NH4þ were evaluated for the first time in thirteen onsite household secondary wastewater treatment systems, including two compact biofilters followed by Filtralite-P filter units, two biological sand filters, five horizontal subsurface flow and four vertical flow constructed wetlands. As expected, all systems removed TSS and BOD5 efficiently (>95% removal). The PPCP removal efficiencies exceeded 80% with the exception of carbamazepine, diclofenac and ketoprofen because of their more recalcitrant characteristics. Despite no statistical differences in the PPCP removal were observed between the different systems evaluated, the vegetated vertical flow constructed wetlands which had unsaturated flow and hence better oxygenation, appeared consistently to perform better in terms of PPCP removal efficiency. The combined effects of vegetation and unsaturated water flow provide a higher tolerance to variations in loading rate and a consistent removal rate.