Organic compounds studied in this U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) assessment generally are man-made, including, in part, pesticides, solvents, gasoline hydrocarbons, personal care and domestic-use products, and refrigerants and propellants. Of 258 compounds measured, 28 were detected in at least 1 source water sample collected approximately monthly during 2002-05 at the intake of the Chalk Bluff Treatment Plant, on the Truckee River upstream of Reno, Nevada. The diversity of compounds detected indicate various sources and uses (including wastewater discharge, industrial, agricultural, domestic, and others) and different pathways (including point sources from treated wastewater outfalls upstream of the sampling location, overland runoff, and groundwater discharge) to drinking-water supply intakes. Three compounds were detected in more than 20 percent of the source-water intake samples at low concentrations (less than 0.1 microgram per liter), including caffeine, p-cresol (a wood preservative), and toluene (a gasoline hydrocarbon). Sixteen of the 28 compounds detected in source water also were detected in finished water (after treatment, but prior to distribution; 2004-05). Additionally, two disinfection by-products not detected in source water, bromodichloromethane and dibromochloromethane, were detected in all finished water samples. Two detected compounds, cholesterol and 3-beta-coprostanol, are among five naturally occurring biochemicals analyzed in this study. Concentrations for all detected compounds in source and finished water generally were less than 0.1 microgram per liter and always less than human-health benchmarks, which are available for about one-half of the compounds. Seven compounds (toluene, chloroform, bromodichloromethane, dibromodichloromethane, bisphenol A, cholesterol, and 3-beta-coprostanol) were measured at concentrations greater than 0.1 microgram per liter. On the basis of this screening-level assessment, adverse effects to human health are expected to be negligible (subject to limitations of available human-health benchmarks).
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USGS Numbered Series
Organic Compounds in Truckee River Water Used for Public Supply near Reno, Nevada, 2002-05