Nationwide reconnaissance of contaminants of emerging concern in source and treated drinking waters of the United States: Pharmaceuticals

Science of the Total Environment
By: , and 

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Abstract

Mobile and persistent chemicals that are present in urban wastewater, such as pharmaceuticals, may survive on-site ormunicipal wastewater treatment and post-discharge environmental processes. These pharmaceuticals have the potential to reach surface and groundwaters, essential drinking-water sources. A joint, two-phase U.S. Geological Survey-U.S. Environmental Protection Agency study examined source and treated waters from 25 drinking-water treatment plants from across the United States. Treatment plants that had probable wastewater inputs to their source waters were selected to assess the prevalence of pharmaceuticals in such source waters, and to identify which pharmaceuticals persist through drinking-water treatment. All samples were analyzed for 24 pharmaceuticals in Phase I and for 118 in Phase II. In Phase I, 11 pharmaceuticals were detected in all source-water samples, with amaximumof nine pharmaceuticals detected in any one sample. The median number of pharmaceuticals for all 25 samples was five. Quantifiable pharmaceutical detections were fewer, with a maximum of five pharmaceuticals in any one sample and a median for all samples of two. In Phase II, 47 different pharmaceuticals were detected in all source-water samples, with a maximum of 41 pharmaceuticals detected in any one sample. The median number of pharmaceuticals for all 25 samples was eight. For 37 quantifiable pharmaceuticals in Phase II, median concentrations in source water were below 113 ng/L.

Additional publication details

Publication type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Title Nationwide reconnaissance of contaminants of emerging concern in source and treated drinking waters of the United States: Pharmaceuticals
Series title Science of the Total Environment
DOI 10.1016/j.scitotenv.2016.03.128
Volume 579
Year Published 2017
Language English
Publisher Elsevier
Contributing office(s) Branch of Analytical Serv (NWQL), Iowa Water Science Center
Description 14 p.
First page 1629
Last page 1642