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Contaminant exposure and transport from three potential reuse waters within a single watershed

January 10, 2023

Global demand for safe and sustainable water supplies necessitates a better understanding of contaminant exposures in potential reuse waters. In this study, we compared exposures and load contributions to surface water from the discharge of three reuse waters (wastewater effluent, urban stormwater, and agricultural runoff). Results document substantial and varying organic-chemical contribution to surface water from effluent discharges (e.g., disinfection byproducts [DBP], prescription pharmaceuticals, industrial/household chemicals), urban stormwater (e.g., polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, pesticides, nonprescription pharmaceuticals), and agricultural runoff (e.g., pesticides). Excluding DBPs, episodic storm-event organic concentrations and loads from urban stormwater were comparable to and often exceeded those of daily wastewater-effluent discharges. We also assessed if wastewater-effluent irrigation to corn resulted in measurable effects on organic-chemical concentrations in rain-induced agricultural runoff and harvested feedstock. Overall, the target-organic load of 491 g from wastewater-effluent irrigation to the study corn field during the 2019 growing season did not produce substantial dissolved organic-contaminant contributions in subsequent rain-induced runoff events. Out of the 140 detected organics in source wastewater-effluent irrigation, only imidacloprid and estrone had concentrations that resulted in observable differences between rain-induced agricultural runoff from the effluent-irrigated and nonirrigated corn fields. Analyses of pharmaceuticals and per-/polyfluoroalkyl substances in at-harvest corn-plant samples detected two prescription antibiotics, norfloxacin and ciprofloxacin, at concentrations of 36 and 70 ng/g, respectively, in effluent-irrigated corn-plant samples; no contaminants were detected in noneffluent irrigated corn-plant samples.

Publication Year 2023
Title Contaminant exposure and transport from three potential reuse waters within a single watershed
DOI 10.1021/acs.est.2c07372
Authors Jason R. Masoner, Dana W. Kolpin, Isabelle M. Cozzarelli, Paul M. Bradley, Brian Arnall, Kenneth J. Forshay, James L. Gray, Justin F. Groves, Michelle Hladik, Laura E. Hubbard, Luke R. Iwanowicz, Jeanne B. Jaeschke, Rachael F. Lane, R. Blaine McCleskey, Bridgette F. Polite, David A. Roth, Michael Pettijohn, Michaelah C. Wilson
Publication Type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Series Title Environmental Science & Technology
Index ID 70239961
Record Source USGS Publications Warehouse
USGS Organization California Water Science Center; Kansas Water Science Center; South Atlantic Water Science Center; Central Midwest Water Science Center; WMA - Laboratory & Analytical Services Division; Upper Midwest Water Science Center; Oklahoma-Texas Water Science Center; Geology, Energy & Minerals Science Center; Eastern Ecological Science Center