Quantifying Pharmaceuticals and Personal Care Products in the Source and Drinking Waters of Northeastern Ohio04/15/2020
Pharmaceuticals and personal care products (PPCPs) are unintentionally discharged into the environment from domestic, agricultural, and industrial sources and end up in drinking water treatment plants (DWTPs). However, very little is known about the effectiveness of these plants in PPCP removal. The purpose of this study was to compare PPCP concentrations in the source and finished water in four DWTPs of Northeastern Ohio. Source and drinking water samples were obtained from the plants monthly from May until September in 2018 and 2019. PPCPs were quantified after solid-phase extraction using High-Performance Liquid Chromatography-Mass Spectrometry (HPLC-MS). Three PPCPs – (caffeine, estrone, and estradiol) were detected in all four DWTPs each month, but there was a 55-60% reduction from the source to the finished waters. Triclosan and DEET were detected in the source but not in the finished waters of three DWTPs (average concentrations of 29 and 9.5 ng/L, respectively,) suggesting they were removed during the DWTP process. The antibiotic sulfamethoxazole was detected in two of the four DWTPs at concentrations of 18.35 ng/L and 22.19 ng/L, respectively, and had 63% reduction in finished waters From this study; we concluded that the selected DWTPs were effective in reducing and in some cases removing the PPCPs from the finished water samples. Further studies are required to see if the chronic presence of these compounds in nanograms per liter in the drinking water can impact human health.