Coping with emerging contaminants in potable water sources

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

2 Scopus citations


Humans use a large variety of chemicals in their everyday lives including over-the-counter medications, prescription drugs, and personal care products. The chemicals that comprise these items enter wastewater treatment systems when they are manufactured by companies and used by consumers. Wastewater treatment plants have various removal efficiencies, causing these chemicals, generally referred to as “emerging contaminants,” to enter surface water bodies. In addition to human sources of emerging contaminants, veterinary pharmaceuticals and hormones are given to livestock raised in concentrated animal feeding operations. The land application of biosolids and animal waste to agricultural fields as a fertilizer source also introduces emerging contaminants into the environment. Recent advances in technology have allowed researchers to detect these compounds in water samples at significantly lower concentrations, thereby allowing researchers to assess the exposure of humans and aquatic species to concentrations at the parts-per-trillion level. This chapter provides an overview of the types of emerging contaminants found in potable water sources, their major sources, issues associated with their removal in treatment plants, and a social perspective of the public’s concerns regarding emerging contaminants in their potable water.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationHandbook of Environmental Chemistry
PublisherSpringer Verlag
Number of pages33
StatePublished - 2014

Publication series

NameHandbook of Environmental Chemistry
ISSN (Print)1867-979X

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Global and Planetary Change
  • Environmental Chemistry
  • Water Science and Technology
  • Waste Management and Disposal
  • Pollution


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