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Fact Sheet 2012–3007

Prepared as part of the National Water-Quality Assessment Program, Source Water-Quality Assessment

Organic Compounds Assessed in Neuse River Water Used for Public Supply near Smithfield, North Carolina, 2002–2005

By Michelle C. Moorman

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Organic compounds studied in a U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) assessment of water samples from the Neuse River and the public supply system for the Town of Smithfield, North Carolina, generally are manmade and include pesticides, gasoline hydrocarbons, solvents, personal-care and domestic-use products, disinfection by-products, and manufacturing additives. Of the 277 compounds assessed, a total of 113 compounds were detected in samples collected approximately monthly during 2002–2005 at the drinking-water intake for the town's water-treatment plant on the Neuse River. Fifty-two organic compounds were commonly detected (in at least 20 percent of the samples) in source water and (or) finished water. The diversity of compounds detected suggests a variety of sources and uses, including wastewater discharges, industrial, agricultural, domestic, and others. Only once during the study did an organic compound concentration exceed a human-health benchmark (benzo[a]pyrene). A human-health benchmark is a chemical concentration specific to water above which there is a risk to humans, however, benchmarks were available for only 18 of the 42 compounds with detected concentrations greater than 0.1 micrograms per liter. On the basis of this assessment, adverse effects to human health are assumed to be negligible.

First posted February 22, 2012

For additional information contact:
Greg Delzer
Source Water-Quality Assessment Coordinator
South Dakota Water Science Center
1608 Mt. View Rd
Rapid City, SD 57702
(605) 394–3230

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Suggested citation:

Moorman, M.C., 2012, Organic compounds assessed in Neuse River water used for public supply near Smithfield, North Carolina, 2002–2005: U.S. Geological Survey Fact Sheet 2012–3007, 6 p.

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