Tuesday, October 23, 2007 : 11:00 a.m.

Pharmaceuticals and Chloroxylenol in Wastewater Effluent Samples from across the United States, 2003-2006

Patrick J. Phillips1, Steven G. Smith1, Dana W. Kolpin, Ph.D.1, Edward T. Furlong1, Steven D. Zaugg, Ph.D.2, Kathleen Esposito3 and Beverley Stinson, Ph.D.3, (1)USGS, (2)USGS-NWQL, (3)Metcalf and Eddy

Four opiates (codeine, hydrocodone, methadone, and oxycodone), one barbiturate (butalbital), three muscle relaxants (carisoprodol, metaxalone, and methocarbamol), a tranquilizer (diazepam), an antihistamine (chlorpheniramine), an amphetamine (phendimetrazine), and an anti-microbial (chloroxylenol) were analyzed in effluent samples collected from wastewater treatment plants (WWTP) sites across the United States.   Effluent samples were collected once between 2003 and 2006 at 19 WWTP sites located across the United States; about half of these compounds were detected in more than 15 percent of these samples.  At least one opiate was detected in about half of these samples, and opiate concentrations were generally less than 1 µg/L.  Butalbital and methocarbamol were both detected in around half of these samples, with concentrations as high as 0.5 µg/L for butalbital, and 1 µg/L for methocarbamol.   Diazepam, chlorpheniramine, and phendimetrazine were detected in less than 10 percent of these samples,  and concentrations were less than 0.2 µg/L. Chloroxylenol was detected in most of the samples, and concentrations ranged from 0.1 to nearly 2 µg/L.  These data were supplemented by multiple effluent samples (20 to 25) collected from two WWTP with substantial inputs from PMF facilities; these samples had much higher detection frequencies and concentrations for most of these pharmaceuticals.  For example, concentrations of hydrocodone, methadone, oxycodone, and  butalbital ranged between 3 and 40 µg/L, and concentrations of metaxalone were generally above 500 µg/L for the 20 samples collected from one of these two WWTP; these compounds were detected in over 80 nearly all of the samples from this site.   Median concentrations of carisoprodol exceeded 10 µg/L for samples collected from the other WWTP site with substantial input from PMF facilities. 


Patrick J. Phillips, USGS Mr. Phillips has been employed by the US Geological Survey for the last 19 years, and has research interests in organic compounds in the environment.

6th International Conference on Pharmaceuticals and Enocrine Disrupting Chemicals in Water