Publications—Open-File Report 2006–1297

Occurrence of Pharmaceuticals in Shallow Ground-Water of Suffolk County, New York, 2002–05

Prepared in cooperation with the Suffolk County Water Authority

By Mark J. Benotti, Shawn Fisher, and Stephen Terracciano

U.S. Geological Survey Open-File Report 2006–1297

Available Online Only

The cover of the report is available in PDF Format (342 KB)
The body of the report is available in PDF Format (2,658 KB)


Seventy (70) water samples were collected from 61 wells in the upper glacial and Magothy aquifers (9 wells were sampled twice) during 2002–05 and analyzed for 24 pharmaceuticals. Wells were selected for their proximity to known wastewater-treatment facilities that discharge to the shallow upper glacial aquifer. Pharmaceuticals were detected in 28 of the 70 samples, 19 of which contained one compound, and 9 of which contained two or more compounds. Concentrations of detected compounds were extremely low; most ranged from 0.001 to 0.1 microgram per liter (part per billion). The two most commonly detected compounds were carbamazepine (an antiepileptic drug) and sulfamethoxazole (an antibiotic). Occurrence of pharmaceutical compounds in Suffolk County ground-water is less prevalent than in susceptible streams of the United States that were tested in 1998–2000, but the similarity of median concentrations of the detected compounds of the two data sets indicates that current wastewater practices can serve to introduce pharmaceuticals to this shallow aquifer.





Occurrence of Pharmaceuticals





  1. Map showing locations of the 61 wells sampled during 2002-05 in Suffolk County, New York.

  2. Graph showing concentrations of pharmaceuticals detected in 61 wells in Suffolk County, Long Island, N.Y.


  1. Comparison of median detected concentrations and detection frequencies between pharmaceuticals in 61 ground-water wells in Suffolk County, Long Island, New York, 2002-2005, and 139 streams throughout the United States during 19982000.

Suggested Citation:

Benotti, M.J., Fisher, S.C., and Terracciano, S.A., 2006, Occurrence of pharmaceuticals in shallow ground water of Suffolk County, New York, 2002–2005: U.S. Geological Survey Open-File Report 2006–1297, 5 pages, online only.

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