I have been a hydrologist with the US Geological Survey for over 25 years, and have authored over 50 publications focusing on the source and transport of trace organics (including pharmaceuticals, hormones, personal care products and pesticides) in urban and agricultural settings across the United States. My research has focused on organic wastewater compounds in groundwater, surface water and wastewater systems. Most recently I have used newly developed analytical, sampling, and statistical techniques to assess loadings of hormones and other organic contaminants from combined sewer overflows to adjacent surface water systems.
Science and Products
The impact of onsite wastewater disposal systems on groundwater in areas inundated by Hurricane Sandy in New York and New Jersey
Coastal onsite wastewater disposal systems (OWDS) were inundated by Hurricane Sandy's storm tide. This study compares the shallow groundwater quality (nutrients, pharmaceuticals, and hormones) downgradient of OWDS before and after Hurricane Sandy, where available, and establishes a baseline for wastewater influence on groundwater in coastal...Fisher, Irene; Phillips, Patrick J.; Colella, Kaitlyn; Fisher, Shawn C.; Tagliaferri, Tristen N.; Foreman, William T. ; Furlong, Edward T.
Comparison of wastewater-associated contaminants in the bed sediment of Hempstead Bay, New York, before and after Hurricane Sandy
Changes in bed sediment chemistry of Hempstead Bay (HB) have been evaluated in the wake of Hurricane Sandy, which resulted in the release of billions of liters of poorly-treated sewage into tributaries and channels throughout the bay. Surficial grab samples (top 5 cm) collected before and (or) after Hurricane Sandy from sixteen sites in HB...Fisher, Shawn C.; Phillips, Patrick J.; Brownawell, Bruce J.; Browne, James
Regional variability in bed-sediment concentrations of wastewater compounds, hormones and PAHs for portions of coastal New York and New Jersey impacted by hurricane Sandy
Bed sediment samples from 79 coastal New York and New Jersey, USA sites were analyzed for 75 compounds including wastewater associated contaminants, PAHs, and other organic compounds to assess the post-Hurricane Sandy distribution of organic contaminants among six regions. These results provide the first assessment of wastewater compounds,...Phillips, Patrick J.; Gibson, Cathy A; Fisher, Shawn C.; Fisher, Irene; Reilly, Timothy J.; Smalling, Kelly L. ; Romanok, Kristin M. ; Foreman, William T. ; ReVello, Rhiannon C.; Focazio, Michael J.; Jones, Daniel K.
Complex mixtures, complex responses: Assessing pharmaceutical mixtures using field and laboratory approaches
Pharmaceuticals are present in low concentrations (<100 ng/L) in most municipal wastewater effluents but may be elevated locally because of factors such as input from pharmaceutical formulation facilities. Using existing concentration data, the authors assessed pharmaceuticals in laboratory exposures of fathead minnows (Pimephales...Schoenfuss, Heiko L.; Furlong, Edward T.; Phillips, Patrick J.; Scott, Tia-Marie; Kolpin, Dana W.; Cetkovic-Cvrlje, Marina; Lesteberg, Kelsey E.; Rearick, Daniel C.
Potential estrogenic effects of wastewaters on gene expression in Pimephales promelas and fish assemblages in streams of southeastern New York
Direct linkages between endocrine-disrupting compounds (EDCs) from municipal and industrial wastewaters and impacts on wild fish assemblages are rare. The levels of plasma vitellogenin (Vtg) and Vtg messenger ribonucleic acid (mRNA) in male fathead minnows (Pimephales promelas) exposed to wastewater effluents and dilutions of 17α-...Baldigo, Barry P.; George, Scott D.; Phillips, Patrick J.; Hemming, Joceyln D. C.; Denslow, Nancy D.; Kroll, Kevin J.
Concentrations of hormones, pharmaceuticals and other micropollutants in groundwater affected by septic systems in New England and New York
Septic-system discharges can be an important source of micropollutants (including pharmaceuticals and endocrine active compounds) to adjacent groundwater and surface water systems. Groundwater samples were collected from well networks tapping glacial till in New England (NE) and sandy surficial aquifer New York (NY) during one sampling round in...Phillips, Patrick J.; Schubert, Christopher E.; Argue, Denise M.; Fisher, Irene J.; Furlong, Edward T.; Foreman, William T.; Gray, James L.; Chalmers, Ann T.
Analysis of pharmaceutical and other organic wastewater compounds in filtered and unfiltered water samples by gas chromatography/mass spectrometry
Research on the effects of exposure of stream biota to complex mixtures of pharmaceuticals and other organic compounds associated with wastewater requires the development of additional analytical capabilities for these compounds in water samples. Two gas chromatography/mass spectrometry (GC/MS) analytical methods used at the U.S. Geological Survey...Zaugg, Steven D.; Phillips, Patrick J.; Smith, Steven G.
Mycotoxins: diffuse and point source contributions of natural contaminants of emerging concern to streams
To determine the prevalence of mycotoxins in streams, 116 water samples from 32 streams and three wastewater treatment plant effluents were collected in 2010 providing the broadest investigation on the spatial and temporal occurrence of mycotoxins in streams conducted in the United States to date. Out of the 33 target mycotoxins measured, nine...Kolpin, Dana W.; Schenzel, Judith; Meyer, Michael T.; Phillips, Patrick J.; Hubbard, Laura E.; Scott, Tia-Marie; Bucheli, Thomas D.
Contaminants in stream sediments from seven United States metropolitan areas: part I: distribution in relation to urbanization
Organic contaminants and trace elements were measured in bed sediments collected from streams in seven metropolitan study areas across the United States to assess concentrations in relation to urbanization. Polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, polychlorinated biphenyls, organochlorine pesticides, the pyrethroid insecticide bifenthrin, and several...Nowell, Lisa H.; Moran, Patrick W.; Gilliom, Robert J.; Calhoun, Daniel L.; Ingersoll, Christopher G.; Kemble, Nile E.; Kuivila, Kathryn ; Phillips, Patrick J.
Combined sewer overflows: an environmental source of hormones and wastewater micropollutants
Data were collected at a wastewater treatment plant (WWTP) in Burlington, Vermont, USA, (serving 30,000 people) to assess the relative contribution of CSO (combined sewer overflow) bypass flows and treated wastewater effluent to the load of steroid hormones and other wastewater micropollutants (WMPs) from a WWTP to a lake. Flow-weighted composite...Phillips, P.J.; Chalmers, A.T.; Gray, J.L.; Kolpin, D.W.; Foreman, W.T.; Wall, G.R.
Method Description, Quality Assurance, Environmental Data, and other Information for Analysis of Pharmaceuticals in Wastewater-Treatment-Plant Effluents, Streamwater, and Reservoirs, 2004-2009
Abstract Wastewater-treatment-plant (WWTP) effluents are a demonstrated source of pharmaceuticals to the environment. During 2004-09, a study was conducted to identify pharmaceutical compounds in effluents from WWTPs (including two that receive substantial discharges from pharmaceutical formulation facilities), streamwater, and reservoirs. The...Phillips, Patrick J.; Smith, Steven G.; Kolpin, Dana W.; Zaugg, Steven D.; Buxton, Herbert T.; Furlong, Edward T.
Wastewater effluent, combined sewer overflows, and other sources of organic compounds to Lake Champlain
Some sources of organic wastewater compounds (OWCs) to streams, lakes, and estuaries, including wastewater-treatment-plant effluent, have been well documented, but other sources, particularly wet-weather discharges from combined-sewer-overflow (CSO) and urban runoff, may also be major sources of OWCs. Samples of wastewater-treatment-plant (WWTP)...Phillips, P.; Chalmers, A.