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Tapwater exposures, effects potential, and residential risk management in Northern Plains Nations

September 26, 2022

In the United States (US), private-supply tapwater (TW) is rarely monitored. This data gap undermines individual/community risk-management decision-making, leading to an increased probability of unrecognized contaminant exposures in rural and remote locations that rely on private wells. We assessed point-of-use (POU) TW in three northern plains Tribal Nations, where ongoing TW arsenic (As) interventions include expansion of small community water systems and POU adsorptive-media treatment for Strong Heart Water Study participants. Samples from 34 private-well and 22 public-supply sites were analyzed for 476 organics, 34 inorganics, and 3 in vitro bioactivities. 63 organics and 30 inorganics were detected. Arsenic, uranium (U), and lead (Pb) were detected in 54%, 43%, and 20% of samples, respectively. Concentrations equivalent to public-supply maximum contaminant level(s) (MCL) were exceeded only in untreated private-well samples (As 47%, U 3%). Precautionary health-based screening levels were exceeded frequently, due to inorganics in private supplies and chlorine-based disinfection byproducts in public supplies. The results indicate that simultaneous exposures to co-occurring TW contaminants are common, warranting consideration of expanded source, point-of-entry, or POU treatment(s). This study illustrates the importance of increased monitoring of private-well TW, employing a broad, environmentally informative analytical scope, to reduce the risks of unrecognized contaminant exposures.

Publication Year 2022
Title Tapwater exposures, effects potential, and residential risk management in Northern Plains Nations
DOI 10.1021/acsestwater.2c00293
Authors Paul M. Bradley, Kristin M. Romanok, Kelly L. Smalling, Michael J. Focazio, Robert Charboneau, Christine Marie George, Ana Navas-Acien, Marcia O'Leary, Reno Red Cloud, Tracy Zacher, Sara E. Breitmeyer, Mary C. Cardon, Christa K. Cuny, Guthrie Ducheneaux, Kendra Enright, Nicola Evans, James L. Gray, David E. Harvey, Michelle Hladik, Leslie K. Kanagy, Keith Loftin, R. Blaine McCleskey, Elizabeth Medlock-Kakaley, Shannon M. Meppelink, Joshua F. Valder, Christopher P. Weis
Publication Type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Series Title Environmental Science and Technology Water
Index ID 70237772
Record Source USGS Publications Warehouse
USGS Organization South Atlantic Water Science Center