State Water Resources Research Institute Program

Project ID: 2009MT190B
Title: Organic Wastewater Chemicals in Ground Water and Blacktail Creek, Summit Valley, Montana
Project Type: Research
Start Date: 3/01/2009
End Date: 2/28/2011
Congressional District: At-Large
Focus Categories: Groundwater, Water Quality, Water Supply
Keywords: Drinking Water, Organic Wastewater Contaminants, Groundwater, Pharmaceuticals
Principal Investigator: Icopini, Gary; Parker, Stephen
Federal Funds: $ 12,210
Non-Federal Matching Funds: $ 30,907
Abstract: Organic wastewater chemicals (OWCs) originate from human or animal wastewater discharges (treated or untreated) to the environment. OWCs encompass a wide variety of chemicals and include pharmaceuticals, hormones, fire retardants, industrial chemicals, personal care products, and pesticides. Many of these chemicals have been shown to interfere with the endocrine system of both animals and humans at very low concentrations. Surface waters receiving treated wastewater effluent have received the most attention by researchers studying OWC occurrences and effects on the environment. Relatively few studies have examined the occurrence or fate of OWCs in ground waters.

A previous study has documented elevated nitrate concentrations that have been attributed to septic system discharges in the ground waters and surface waters of the Summit Valley near Butte, Montana, relative to other areas of western Montana, Since the factors that control nitrate sources, mobility and persistence in the subsurface are similar to those that influence OWCs, it is likely that the ground waters of the Summit Valley will also contain elevated OWC concentrations. Therefore the Summit Valley has been chosen to test this model. The same wells that were sampled in the nitrate study will be sampled again and analyzed for OWCs using enzyme-linked immunosorbent assays. This investigation will document the occurrence of a select group of indicator OWCs in the ground water and surface waters of the Summit Valley and will provide initial data for a future expanded research effort. In addition, this project will form the basis of a graduate student (MS) thesis.

Progress/Completion Report, 2009, PDF
Progress/Completion Report, 2010, PDF

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