2005 Salt Lake City Annual Meeting (October 16–19, 2005)

Paper No. 7
Presentation Time: 8:00 AM-12:00 PM


PANKRATOV, Irena1, ELHANANY, Sara1, EZRA, Shai2, FARBER, Efrat2, RONEN, Zeev3 and VENGOSH, Avner2, (1)Water Quality Division, Israeli Water Commission, Hamasger 14; POB 20365, Tel Aviv, 61203, Israel, (2)Department of Geological and Environmental Sciences, Ben-Gurion University of the Negev, Beer Sheva, 84105, Israel, (3)Institutes for Desert Research, Ben-Gurion University of the Negev, Beer Sheva, 84105, Israel, irenap60@water.gov.il

The Lower Jordan River, that flows between Israel and Jordan, received in the past a large volume of fresh water. Currently, most of the upstream fresh water is utilized and only saline and sewage effluents contribute to the base flow of the river. Here we report preliminary measurements of micro-organic contaminants, BOD, COD, bacteriological composition, and major elements. The high background concentration of natural organic matter in the river does not allow the use conventional indicators for sewage input such as COD, BOD and thus monitoring the sewage contamination in the river requires additional tools. We show that using specific micro-organic markers enabled us to delineate the different anthropogenic inputs to the river. Organic contaminants were extracted both from the water and the suspended matter using solid-phase extraction and liquid extraction, respectively, and were analyzed by a GC-MS. The results show that the river is polluted by a large number of organic contaminants such as: alkyl phenols, phthalates, PAHs, oil residues, detergents, and pharmaceuticals. We use specific organic contaminants such as caffeine, galaxolide, bleaching agent and diethylphthalate for characterization and identification of the different anthropogenic sources that enter the river. We show that caffeine in the river water distinguish between sewage and agricultural effluents. The ratio between caffeine and galaxolide (musk) is used to distinguish even between different sewage sources along the river. We found high correlation between diethylphthalate, caffeine, and presence of E. coli in the river. Given that the Lower Jordan River is used as an important source for irrigation and fish ponds, the presence of hazardous compounds and Endocrine Disrupting Compounds (EDCs) in the river water, such as PAH, phthalates and alkyl phenols, requires further investigation of these components in fish products and examination of potential health hazards that may derived from using of the contaminated Jordan River.