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Persistence of Pharmaceuticals and Other Wastewater Related Compounds

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Abstract:The quality of drinking and recreational water is currently ascertained using indicator bacteria. However, the tests to analyze for these bacteria require a considerable length of time to complete, and do not discriminate between human and animal fecal material sources. One solution is to use chemicals found in human wastewater which would have the advantage of requiring shorter analysis times, and can be selected to be human specific. At ten locations, water samples were collected upstream, and at two successive points downstream from wastewater treatment facility. A treated effluent sample was also collected at each location. This longitudinal sampling scheme was used to determine the persistence of the target compounds in streams. The water samples were extracted using either solid phase or liquid-liquid extraction and were analyzed using either liquid chromatography/mass spectrometry or gas chromatography/mass spectrometry. Of the 95 chemical analytes investigated in this project, 78 were found in at least one sample. Seventeen of the 95 compounds were classified as either a prescription or non-prescription pharmaceutical. Of these, nine were found in at least 50 % of the samples and thirteen were found in at least 10 % of the samples. While most concentrations of all of the compounds were in the range of 0.1 to 1.0 g/ L, in some of the more highly contaminated samples, concentrations were in the range of 5-20 g/ L. The concentrations of the majority of the chemical compounds present in the samples generally followed a reasonable trend: they were either non-existent or at only trace levels in the upstream samples, had their maximum values in the wastewater effluent samples, and then declined in the two downstream samples. This work indicates that these chemical analytes do have utility as tracers of human wastewater discharge.
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Citation:Glassmeyer, S., E. T. Furlong, D. W. Kolpin, I. Ferrerfelis, J. D. Cahill, S. D. Zaugg, S. L. Werner, and D. D. Kryak. Persistence of Pharmaceuticals and Other Wastewater Related Compounds. Presented at 4th International Conference on Pharmaceuticals and Encocrine Disrupting Chemicals in Water, Minneapolis, MN, October 13-15, 2004.
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Contact: Mary P. O'Bryant - (919)-541-4871 or obriant.mary@epa.gov
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Division: Microbiological & Chemical Exposure Assessment Division
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Branch: Chemical Exposure Research Branch
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Product Type: Abstrct/Oral
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Presented: 10/13/2004
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Related Entries:
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Bullet Item Chemical Indicators of Human Fecal Contamination
spacer Relationship Reason:   A Project of the Product
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Last Updated on Monday, October 22, 2007
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