Environmental Health - Toxic Substances Hydrology Program

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What's in Our Wastewaters and Where Does it Go?

A map showing network of 139 streams sampling locations across 30 states
During the National Stream Reconnaissance for Emerging Contaminants Project USGS scientists collected water samples from a network of 139 streams across 30 states during 1999 and 2000.

The U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) has implemented a national reconnaissance to provide baseline information on the environmental occurrence of "emerging contaminants" such as human and veterinary pharmaceuticals (e.g., fluoxetine and lincomycin), industrial and household wastewater products (e.g., p-nonyphenol and triclosan), and reproductive and steroidal hormones (e.g., equilenin and progesterone) in water resources. During 1999 and 2000, 142 streams, 55 wells, and 7 effluent samples were collected across 36 states as part of this national reconnaissance effort. A majority of the sites sampled were those suspected to be susceptible to emerging contaminants from animal or human wastewaters. This national reconnaissance of emerging contaminants is the first of its kind in the United States.


Buxton, H.T., and Kolpin, D.W., 2002, Pharmaceuticals, hormones, and other organic wastewater contaminants in U.S. streams: U.S. Geological Survey Fact Sheet FS-027-02, 2 p.

Kolpin, D.W., Furlong, E.T., Meyer, M.T., Thurman, E.M., Zaugg, S.D., Barber, L.B., and Buxton, H.T., 2002, Pharmaceuticals, hormones, and other organic wastewater contaminants in U.S. streams, 1999-2000--A national reconnaissance: Environmental Science and Technology, v. 36, no. 6, p. 1202-1211.

Barnes, K.K., Kolpin, D.W., Meyer, M.T., Thurman, E.M., Furlong, E.T., Zaugg, S.D., and Barber, L.B., 2002, Water-quality data for pharmaceuticals, hormones, and other organic wastewater contaminants in U.S. streams, 1999-2000: U.S. Geological Survey Open-File Report 02-94.

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