Pharmaceuticals and Other Organic Chemicals in Selected North-Central and Northwestern Arkansas Streams

Biological and Agricultural Engineering Department, University of Arkansas, 203 Engineering Hall, Fayetteville, AR 72701, USA.
Journal of Environmental Quality (Impact Factor: 2.65). 07/2006; 35(4):1078-87. DOI: 10.2134/jeq2005.0248
Source: PubMed


Recently, our attention has focused on the low level detection of many antibiotics, pharmaceuticals, and other organic chemicals in water resources. The limited studies available suggest that urban or rural streams receiving wastewater effluent are more susceptible to contamination. The purpose of this study was to evaluate the occurrence of antibiotics, pharmaceuticals, and other organic chemicals at 18 sites on seven selected streams in Arkansas, USA, during March, April, and August 2004. Water samples were collected upstream and downstream from the influence of effluent discharges in northwestern Arkansas and at one site on a relatively undeveloped stream in north-central Arkansas. At least one antibiotic, pharmaceutical, or other organic chemical was detected at all sites, except at Spavinaw Creek near Mayesville, Arkansas. The greatest number of detections was observed at Mud Creek downstream from an effluent discharge, including 31 pharmaceuticals and other organic chemicals. The detection of these chemicals occurred in higher frequency at sites downstream from effluent discharges compared to those sites upstream from effluent discharges; total chemical concentration was also greater downstream. Wastewater effluent discharge increased the concentrations of detergent metabolites, fire retardants, fragrances and flavors, and steroids in these streams. Antibiotics and associated degradation products were only found at two streams downstream from effluent discharges. Overall, 42 of the 108 chemicals targeted in this study were found in water samples from at least one site, and the most frequently detected organic chemicals included caffeine, phenol, para-cresol, and acetyl hexamethyl tetrahydro naphthalene (AHTN).

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