Water-Quality Data for Pharmaceuticals and Other Organic Wastewater Contaminants in Ground Water and in Untreated Drinking Water Sources in the United States, 2000-01

Open-File Report 2008-1293
By: , and 



This report presents water-quality data from two nationwide studies on the occurrence and distribution of organic wastewater contaminants. These data are part of the continuing effort of the U.S. Geological Survey Toxic Substances Hydrology Program to collect baseline information on the environmental occurrence of pharmaceuticals and other organic wastewater contaminants.

In 2000, samples were collected from 47 ambient ground-water sites (not drinking-water wells) in 18 states and analyzed for 65 organic wastewater contaminants. In the summer of 2001, samples were collected from 74 sources of raw, untreated, drinking water in 25 states and Puerto Rico and analyzed for 100 organic wastewater contaminants. These sources comprise 25 ground-water and 49 surface-water sources of drinking water serving populations ranging from one family to more than 8 million people. Site selection for both studies focused on areas known or suspected to contain sources of animal and/or human wastewater.

The five most frequently detected compounds in samples collected from ambient ground-water sites are N,N-diethyltoluamide (35 percent, insect repellant), bisphenol A (30 percent, plasticizer), tri(2-chloroethy) phosphate (30 percent, fire retardant), sulfamethoxazole (23 percent, veterinary and human antibiotic), and 4-octylphenol monoethoxylate (19 percent, detergent metabolite). The five most frequently detected organic wastewater contaminants in samples of untreated drinking water from surface-water sources are cholesterol (59 percent, natural sterol), metolachlor (53 percent, herbicide), cotinine (51 percent, nicotine metabolite), β-sitosterol (37 percent, natural plant sterol), and 1,7-dimethylxanthine (27 percent, caffeine metabolite). The five most frequently detected organic wastewater contaminants in samples of untreated drinking water from ground-water sources are tetrachloroethylene (24 percent, solvent), carbamazepine (20 percent, pharmaceutical), bisphenol A (20 percent, plasticizer), 1,7-dimethylxanthine (16 percent, caffeine metabolite), and tri(2-chloroethyl) phosphate (12 percent, fire retardant).

Study Area

Publication type Report
Publication Subtype USGS Numbered Series
Title Water-quality data for pharmaceuticals and other organic wastewater contaminants in ground water and in untreated drinking water sources in the United States, 2000-01
Series title Open-File Report
Series number 2008-1293
DOI 10.3133/ofr20081293
Edition Version 1.0
Year Published 2008
Language English
Publisher U.S. Geological Survey
Publisher location Reston, VA
Contributing office(s) Iowa Water Science Center
Description iv, 7 p.
Time Range Start 2000-01-01
Time Range End 2001-12-31
Country Puerto Rico, United States
Online Only (Y/N) N
Additional Online Files (Y/N) N
Google Analytic Metrics Metrics page
Additional publication details