GSA Annual Meeting in Denver, Colorado, USA - 2016

Paper No. 13-4
Presentation Time: 8:50 AM


FITZGERALD, Kendall M.1, CHEN, Chaoqi2 and XIA, Kang2, (1)Department of Geological Sciences, State University of New York at Geneseo, Geneseo, NY 14454, (2)Department of Crop & Soil Environmental Sciences, Virginia Tech, Blacksburg, VA 24060,

Pharmaceuticals and personal care products (PPCPs) are a class of emerging contaminants that includes prescription, over-the-counter, veterinary, and illicit drugs in addition to products intended to have primary effects on the human body, such as sunscreens and insect repellants. A 2016 study by the USGS analyzed samples from 59 streams in the southeastern U.S. for the presence of pharmaceuticals, with only 17 streams having a point source of pollution such as wastewater discharge. However, at least one pharmaceutical was detected in all streams tested. This demonstrates the potential importance of nonpoint sources, such as leaking sewer or septic systems and stormwater runoff, in introducing PPCPs into water supplies.

The objective of this study is to screen for the presence of forty PPCP compounds, including fourteen antibiotics, in Stroubles Creek, a small urban-impacted stream in Blacksburg, Virginia. Urban land cover in the Stroubles Creek watershed has increased 41% from 1971 to 2008, with almost exclusively urban land cover found in the upper portion of the watershed. Water samples were collected from the two inlets and one outlet of a bioretention pond that is located 3 km from the headwaters of Stroubles Creek. Stormwater runoff from Blacksburg drains into this bioretention pond before it is released back into Stroubles Creek. Samples were also collected 3 km and 8 km downstream of the bioretention pond where Stroubles Creek flows into the New River, a drinking water source for surrounding counties. The samples were extracted using solid phase extraction and screened for target PPCPs on an ultra performance liquid chromatography-tandem mass spectrometry (UPLC/MS/MS). In total, fifteen PPCPs were detected among the water samples at estimated concentrations ranging from low ppt to low ppb. This study suggests that nonpoint sources such as stormwater runoff from an urbanized area could be a significant source contributing to the widespread occurrence of PPCPs in water supplies.