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Emerging organic contaminant levels greatly influenced by stream flows, seasons

Flow rates and time of year must be taken into account to better understand the potential risks posed by emerging organic contaminants in rivers and streams, according to Penn State researchers who studied contaminant concentrations and flow characteristics at six locations near drinking water intakes in the Susquehanna River basin. While many studies have looked at the levels of emerging organic contaminants such as pharmaceuticals and pesticides in rivers and their effect on aquatic life, this is one of the first projects to closely correlate pollutant levels with flows, noted researcher Heather Preisendanz, associate professor of agricultural and biological engineering. In addition, the research team documented seasonal changes in contaminant concentrations, with elevated levels of some contaminants seen in the warmer months, posing the greatest risk to fish during their spawning and early developmental stages, said Preisendanz. Her research group in the College of Agricultural Sciences has been studying emerging contaminants in surface water and groundwater since 2013. Read more.....

 

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