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Occurrence of organic wastewater contaminants, pharmaceuticals, and personal care products in selected water supplies, Cape Cod, Massachusetts, June 2004

July 5, 2005

In June 2004, the U.S. Geological Survey, in cooperation with the Barnstable County Department of Health and Environment, sampled water from 14 wastewater sources and drinking-water supplies on Cape Cod, Massachusetts, for the presence of organic wastewater contaminants, pharmaceuticals, and personal care products. The geographic distribution of sampling locations does not represent the distribution of drinking-water supplies on Cape Cod. The environmental presence of the analyte compounds is mostly unregulated; many of the compounds are suspected of having adverse ecological and human health effects. Of the 85 different organic analyte compounds, 43 were detected, with 13 detected in low concentrations (less than 1 microgram per liter) from drinking-water supplies thought to be affected by wastewater because of previously detected high nitrate concentrations. (Phenol and d-limonene, detected in equipment blanks at unacceptably high concentrations, are not included in counts of detections in this report.) Compounds detected in the drinking-water supplies included the solvent, tetrachloroethylene; the analgesic, acetaminophen; the antibiotic, sulfamethoxazole; and the antidepressant, carbamazapine. Nitrate nitrogen, an indicator of wastewater, was detected in water supplies in concentrations ranging from 0.2 to 8.8 milligrams per liter.

Citation Information

Publication Year 2005
Title Occurrence of organic wastewater contaminants, pharmaceuticals, and personal care products in selected water supplies, Cape Cod, Massachusetts, June 2004
DOI 10.3133/ofr20051206
Authors Marc J. Zimmerman
Publication Type Report
Publication Subtype USGS Numbered Series
Series Title Open-File Report
Series Number 2005-1206
Index ID ofr20051206
Record Source USGS Publications Warehouse