Characterization of anthropogenic organic compounds in the source water and finished water for the City of Atlanta, October 2002–September 2004
Frick, Elizabeth A.
Dalton, Melinda S.
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As part of the Source Water-Quality As-sessment (SWQA)—one of several study components within the U.S. Geological Survey’s National Water-Quality Assessment Program—the source water and fin-ished water for the City of Atlanta are being analyzed for the presence of more than 270 anthropogenic organic com-pounds representing a diverse group of extensively used chemicals. During the first phase of the study, 17 source-water samples were collected from October 2002 through December 2003 at the City of Atlanta drinking-water in-take. As part of the second phase of the study, 16 paired samples from the drinking-water intake and finished water at the Chattahoochee Water Treatment Plant (CWTP) are being collected from July 2004 through May 2005. This paper characterizes the occurrence of anthropogenic organic compounds in the source water and finished water for the City of Atlanta, based on results from the first phase and the first three paired samples from the second phase of the study. Thirty-seven pesticides, 11 pesticide degradates, 37 organic wastewater compounds, and 16 volatile organic compounds were detected; multiple anthropogenic organic compounds were detected in each sample collected. Concentrations of anthropogenic organic compounds detected in source-water samples for the City of Atlanta generally were low, and SWQA samples included in this report did not exceed Federal drinking-water standards or health advisories, although such standards or advisories have not been established for most of these compounds. Maximum concentrations measured in source-water sam-ples for the herbicides simazine and MCPA and the insecti-cide diazinon ranged from 81 to 12 percent of available standards and advisories. For all other anthropogenic or-ganic compounds with available drinking-water standards or health advisories, the maximum concentrations measured in source-water samples ranged from 10 to 100,000 times less than available standards and advisories. Fewer anthropogenic organic compounds were de-tected in the finished water from the CWTP than in source water, and concentrations generally were less than concen-trations in source water by one to three orders of magni-tude, with the notable exception of total trihalomethane (THM). THMs are common disinfection by-products, es-pecially when surface water is chlorinated to protect against bacterial contamination. Concentrations of total THMs detected in finished water generally were low (from 35 to 38 micrograms per liter) and compare well with the CWTP’s consumer confidence reports. There were no exceedences of Federal drinking-water standards or health advisories in the first three finished-water sam-ples. For all other anthropogenic organic compounds with available drinking-water standards or health advisories, the maximum concentrations measured in finished-water samples ranged from 100 to 100,000 times less than avail-able standards and advisories.
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