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Occurrence of antibiotics in wastewater treatment facilities in Wisconsin, USA

January 1, 2006

Samples from several wastewater treatment facilities in Wisconsin were screened for the presence of 21 antibiotic compounds. These facilities spanned a range of community size served (average daily flow from 0.0212 to 23.6 million gallons/day), secondary treatment processes, geographic locations across the state, and they discharged the treated effluents to both surface and ground waters (for ground water after a soil passage). A total of six antibiotic compounds were detected (1–5 compounds per site), including two sulfonamides (sulfamethazine, sulfamethoxazole), one tetracycline (tetracycline), fluoroquinolone (ciprofloxacin), macrolide (erythromycin-H2O) and trimethoprim. The frequency of detection of antibiotics was in the following order: tetracycline and trimethoprim (80%) > sulfamethoxazole (70%) > erythromycin-H2O (45%) > ciprofloxacin (40%) > sulfamethazine (10%). However, the soluble concentrations were in the parts-per-billion (ppb) range (≤ 1.3 μg/L), and importantly were unaffected by the size of the wastewater treatment facility. The concentrations detected were within an order of magnitude of those reported for similar systems in Europe and Canada: they were within a factor of two in comparison to those reported for Canada but generally lower relative to those measured in wastewater systems in Europe. Only sulfamethoxazole and tetracycline were detected in groundwater monitoring wells adjacent to the treatment systems. Future intensive wastewater monitoring programs in Wisconsin may be limited to the six antibiotic compounds detected in this study.

Publication Year 2006
Title Occurrence of antibiotics in wastewater treatment facilities in Wisconsin, USA
DOI 10.1016/j.scitotenv.2005.06.030
Authors K.G. Karthikeyan, M. T. Meyer
Publication Type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Series Title Science of the Total Environment
Index ID 70030375
Record Source USGS Publications Warehouse
USGS Organization Toxic Substances Hydrology Program