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Occurrence of Pharmaceuticals in Shallow Ground-Water of Suffolk County, New York, 2002-05

March 3, 2007

Seventy (70) water samples were collected from 61 wells in the upper glacial and Magothy aquifers (9 wells were sampled twice) during 2002-05 and analyzed for 24 pharmaceuticals. Wells were selected for their proximity to known wastewater-treatment facilities that discharge to the shallow upper glacial aquifer. Pharmaceuticals were detected in 28 of the 70 samples, 19 of which contained one compound, and 9 of which contained two or more compounds. Concentrations of detected compounds were extremely low; most ranged from 0.001 to 0.1 microgram per liter (part per billion). The two most commonly detected compounds were carbamazepine (an antiepileptic drug) and sulfamethoxazole (an antibiotic). Occurrence of pharmaceutical compounds in Suffolk County ground-water is less prevalent than in susceptible streams of the United States that were tested in 1998-2000, but the similarity of median concentrations of the detected compounds of the two data sets indicates that current wastewater practices can serve to introduce pharmaceuticals to this shallow aquifer.