Organic compounds studied in this U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) assessment generally are man-made, including pesticides, gasoline hydrocarbons, solvents, personal care and domestic-use products, disinfection by-products, and manufacturing additives. In all, 56 compounds were detected in samples collected approximately monthly during 2003-05 at the intake for the Clackamas River Water plant, one of four community water systems on the lower Clackamas River. The diversity of compounds detected suggests a variety of different sources and uses (including wastewater discharges, industrial, agricultural, domestic, and others) and different pathways to drinking-water supplies (point sources, precipitation, overland runoff, ground-water discharge, and formation during water treatment). A total of 20 organic compounds were commonly detected (in at least 20 percent of the samples) in source water and (or) finished water. Fifteen compounds were commonly detected in source water, and five of these compounds (benzene, m- and p-xylene, diuron, simazine, and chloroform) also were commonly detected in finished water. With the exception of gasoline hydrocarbons, disinfection by-products, chloromethane, and the herbicide diuron, concentrations in source and finished water were less than 0.1 microgram per liter and always less than human-health benchmarks, which are available for about 60 percent of the compounds detected. On the basis of this screening-level assessment, adverse effects to human health are assumed to be negligible (subject to limitations of available human-health benchmarks).
Additional publication details
USGS Numbered Series
Organic Compounds in Clackamas River Water Used for Public Supply near Portland, Oregon, 2003-05