As part of the U.S. Geological Survey's (USGS's) National Water-Quality Assessment (NAWQA) Program, a Source Water-Quality Assessment (SWQA) was conducted in the unconfined and semiconfined portions of the Upper Floridan aquifer system during 2002-04. SWQAs are two-phased sampling activities, wherein phase 1 was designed to evaluate the occurrence of 258 anthropogenic organic compounds (AOCs) in ground water used as source water for 30 of the largest-producing community water system (CWS) wells in the northern Tampa Bay area, Florida. The 258 AOCs included volatile organic compounds (VOCs), pesticides, and other anthropogenic organic compounds (OAOCs). Phase 2 was designed to monitor concentrations in the source water and also the finished water of CWSs for compounds most frequently detected during phase 1.
During phase 1 of the SWQA study, 31 of the 258 AOCs were detected in source-water samples collected from CWS wells at low concentrations (less than 1.0 microgram per liter (ug/L)). Twelve AOCs were detected in at least 10 percent of samples. Concentrations from 16 of the 31 detected AOCs were about 2 to 5 orders of magnitude below human-health benchmarks indicating that concentrations were unlikely to be of potential human-health concern. The potential human-health relevance for the remaining 15 detected unregulated AOCs could not be evaluated because no human-health benchmarks were available for these compounds.
Hydrogeology, population, and land use were examined to evaluate the effects of these variables on the source water monitored. Approximately three times as many detections of VOCs (27) and pesticides (34) occurred in unconfined areas than in the semiconfined areas (8 VOCs, 14 pesticides). In contrast, 1 OAOC was detected in unconfined areas, and 13 OAOCs were detected in semiconfined areas with 9 of the OAOC detections occurring in samples from two wells located near septic systems. Analyses of population and land use indicated that the number of compounds detected increased as the population surrounding each well increased. Detection frequencies and concentrations for VOCs (particularly chloroform) and pesticides were highest in residential land-use areas.
The results of source-water samples from the 30 CWS wells monitored during phase 1 of this SWQA study were compared to four locally conducted studies. These general comparisons indicate that the occurrence of VOCs in other studies is similar to their occurrence in source water of CWSs monitored as part of this SWQA. However, pesticide compounds, especially atrazine and its breakdown products, occurred more frequently in the SWQA study than in the other four studies.
Phase 2 of the SWQA assessed AOCs in samples from 11 of the 30 CWS wells and the associated finished water. Overall, 42 AOCs were detected in either source water or finished water and more compounds were detected in finished water than in source water. Specifically, 22 individual AOCs were detected in source water and 27 AOCs were detected in finished water. The total number of detections was greater in the finished water (80) than in the source water (49); however, this was largely due to the creation of disinfection by-products (DBPs) during water treatment. Excluding DBPs, about the same number of total detections was observed in source water (40) and finished water (44).
During phase 2, AOC detected concentrations ranged from E0.003 (estimated) to 1,140 ug/L in the source water and from E0.003 to 36.3 ug/L in the finished water. Concentrations of 24 of the 42 compounds were compared to human-health benchmarks and were about 1 to 5 orders of magnitude below their human-health benchmarks indicating that concentrations are unlikely to be of potential human-health concern, excluding DBPs. Concentrations of carbon tetrachloride, however, were within 10 percent of its human-health benchmark, which is considered a level that may warrant inclusion of the compound in a low-concentration, t