Emerging Contaminants: Occurrence of ECs in Two Virginia Counties Private Well Water Supplies and Their Removal from Secondary Wastewater Effluent
Vesely, William Camp
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Emerging contaminants (ECs) are chemicals such as pharmaceuticals and personal care products that have been detected in various environmental matrices, including drinking water supplies at trace concentrations (ng/L-ug/L or ng/kg-ug/kg). Current wastewater treatment plant technology is largely ineffective at removing ECs. The objectives of this investigation were to: 1) determine the occurrence of ECs in private well water supplies in Montgomery and Roanoke County, VA 2) quantify the concentrations of three ECs in selected private water supplies; 3) examine the relationship between water quality constituents (nitrate, bacteria, pH and total dissolved solids) to EC occurrence in private water supplies; and 4) determine the ability of the MicroEvapTM, a novel wastewater treatment technology, to remove ECs from secondary wastewater effluent. In partnership with the Virginia Household Water Quality Program, 57 private water supplies were sampled and tested for the occurrence of 142 ECs and 43 other water quality constituents. Up to 73 ECs were detected in the sampled private water supplies. Higher numbers of ECs detected in the tested private water supplies were related with nitrate >1 mg/L, total dissolved solids >250 mg/L, and the presence of total coliform bacteria. Results indicate the MicroEvapTM technology had >99% removal effectiveness for all 26 tested ECs from three secondary wastewater effluent. With the increasing detection of ECs in water bodies, it is essential to understand the occurrence of ECs and environmental predictors of EC presence in different water matrices and continue to develop water treatment technology capable of treating wastewater for EC removal.
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