Although studied extensively in recent years in Europe, the occurrence of endocrine disrupters and other organic wastewater compounds in the environment in the United States is not well documented. To better understand the efficiency of riverbank filtration with respect to endocrine disrupting compounds and to evaluate the use of riverbank filtration as an effective means of drinking-water treatment, a study was conducted during 2001-2003 by the U.S. Geological Survey, in cooperation with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the City of Lincoln, at an established riverbank-filtration well field with horizontal collector wells and vertical wells. This study provides information that will be useful for (1) increased understanding of the processes and factors important in controlling the transport of endocrine disrupters, such as pesticides and pharmaceuticals during riverbank filtration, (2) better understanding of the physical and chemical processes that affect riverbank-filtration efficiency, and (3) managing the water resources of the eastern Platte River Basin. This report presents analytical methods and data collected during the study. Data are presented as generalized statistics and in figures showing temporal variations.
Sites from which water-quality samples were collected for this study included wastewater sites (a cattle feedlot lagoon, a hog confinement lagoon, and wastewater-treatment plant effluent), surface-water sites (Platte River, Salt Creek, and Loup Power Canal), ground-water sites (one collector well and three vertical wells), and drinking-water sites (raw and finished). Field water-quality properties were measured in samples from these sites.
Pharmaceutical compounds were detected often in the wastewater-treatment plant effluent. Surface and ground water showed low-level concentrations of pharmaceuticals. Finished drinking-water samples did not contain detectable concentrations of pharmaceuticals except for low levels of cotinine and caffeine. Antibiotics were found in some of the wastewater samples and twice in Salt Creek. Antibiotics were not detected in any samples from the Platte River or the well field.
Surface-water samples were analyzed for total organic carbon and ground-water samples were analyzed for dissolved organic carbon. Samples from all sites were analyzed for major ions. Herbicides commonly detected in surface, ground, and drinking water included acetachlor, alachlor, atrazine, and metolachlor as well as degradates of these compounds. Most of the samples from wastewater sites were found to contain predominantly acetamide degradates. High concentrations of several organic wastewater indicator compounds were detected at the wastewater sites and in Salt Creek. Several organic wastewater indicator compounds were detected multiple times in samples from the Platte River. Bromoform, a by-product of disinfection in the treatment plant, was found in samples from the finished drinking water.
Stable hydrogen isotope ratios show a range in seasonal variation of -73.6 per mill to -38.1 per mill relative to Vienna Standard Mean Ocean Water (VSMOW) reference water and -69.2 per mill to -46.5 per mill for surface water and ground water, respectively. Oxygen isotope ratios for surface-water samples varied between -9.86 per mill and -5.05 per mill. Stable oxygen isotope ratios of ground waters varied between -9.62 per mill and -5.81 per mill.
Additional publication details
USGS Numbered Series
Occurrence of selected pharmaceutical and non-pharmaceutical compounds, and stable hydrogen and oxygen isotope ratios, in a riverbank filtration study, Platte River, Nebraska, 2001 to 2003, Volume 1