Page Banner

United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Title: Pharmaceuticals and Other Organic Chemicals in Selected North–central and Northwestern Arkansas Streams

Authors
item Haggard, Brian
item Galloway, Joel - USGS
item Green, W - USGS
item Meyer, Michael - USGS

Submitted to: Journal of Environmental Quality
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: April 1, 2006
Publication Date: May 31, 2006
Citation: Haggard, B.E., Galloway, J.M., Green, W.R., Meyer, M.T. 2006. Pharmaceuticals and other organic chemicals in selected North–Central and Northwestern Arkansas streams. Journal of Environmental Quality. 35:1078-1087.

Interpretive Summary: Recently, our attention has focused on the low level detection of many antibiotics, pharmaceuticals and other organic wastewater compounds in water resources. The limited studies available suggest that urban or rural streams receiving wastewater effluent are more susceptible to contamination. The purpose of this synoptic study was to evaluate the occurrence of antibiotics, pharmaceuticals and other chemicals at 18 sites on seven selected streams in Arkansas during March, April and August 2004. Water samples were collected upstream and downstream from the influence of effluent discharges in northwest Arkansas and at one site on a relatively undeveloped stream in north–central Arkansas. At least one antibiotic, pharmaceutical or other chemicals was detected at all sites, except at Spavinaw Creek near Mayesville, Arkansas. The number of detections and total chemical concentrations were greater at sampling sites downstream from wastewater treatment plant effluent discharges compared to upstream observations; antibiotics were found only at two streams down gradient from the effluent discharge. Overall, 42 out of the 108 targeted chemicals were found in relatively low concentrations at the selected streams in this investigation.

Technical Abstract: Recently, our attention has focused on the low level detection of many antibiotics, pharmaceuticals and other organic wastewater compounds (OWCs) in water resources. The limited studies available suggest that urban or rural streams receiving wastewater effluent are more susceptible to contamination. The purpose of this synoptic study was to evaluate the occurrence of antibiotics, pharmaceuticals and other OWCs at 18 sites on seven selected streams in Arkansas during March, April and August 2004. Water samples were collected upstream and downstream from the influence of effluent discharges in northwest Arkansas and at one site on a relatively undeveloped stream in north–central Arkansas. At least one antibiotic, pharmaceutical or other OWC was detected at all sites, except at Spavinaw Creek near Mayesville, Arkansas. The greatest number of detections was observed at Mud Creek downstream from an effluent discharge, including 23 pharmaceuticals and eight antibiotics. The detection of these chemicals occurred in higher frequency at sites downstream from effluent discharges compared to those sites upstream from effluent discharges; total OWC concentration was also greater downstream from effluent discharges. Wastewater effluent discharge increased the concentrations of detergent metabolites, fire retardants, fragrances and flavors, and steroids in these streams. Antibiotics and associated degradation products were only found at two streams downstream from effluent discharges. Overall, 42 of the 108 chemicals targeted in this study were found in water samples from at least one site, and the most frequently detected OWCs included caffeine, phenol, para–cresol, and acetyl hexamethyl tetrahydro naphthalene (AHTN).

Last Modified: 11/22/2014
Footer Content Back to Top of Page