Year Established: 2012 Start Date: 2012-03-01 End Date: 2014-02-28
Total Federal Funds: $19,584 Total Non-Federal Funds: $39,170
Principal Investigators: Holly Frederick
Abstract: Emerging organic contaminants are a concern in Pennsylvanias water systems. Enzyme linked immunoassay (ELISA) tests have been indicated to be effective methods for quantifying low levels of emerging organic contaminants in waters, but the protocol has not been widely accepted in the environmental field. This research aims to evaluate ELISA techniques used to measure triclosan as a selected emerging organic contaminant. The research will evaluate triclosan using several different protocols including an ELISA test, an ELISA test with a pre-concentration step and a Gas Chromatography/Mass Spectrometry (GC/MS) protocol with a pre-concentration step. The GC/MS procedure is the most widely accepted research protocol, but the ELISA tests are suggested to be equally effective with a lower cost and less processing of the water to be evaluated. One objective of this proposal is to determine the statistical validity of an ELISA protocol to measure part per billion triclosan concentrations in water and wastewater without a pre-concentration step. The second goal of this project is to establish a standard operating procedure for the ELISA protocol that can be used to measure the concentration of triclosan in the final effluent of a wastewater treatment plant, in ground water and in surface waters. Triclosan is an anthropogenic chemical chosen as a representative emerging organic contaminant because its presence is a likely indicator of waste water contamination. Understanding how triclosan is transported through waste water treatment plants and through natural systems can help scientists, engineers and regulators to understand similar emerging organic compounds. An ELISA protocol can prove to be a reliable method to more efficiently measure triclosan levels by enabling testing of an unprocessed water sample, therefore allowing for field testing that would not require pre-processing of the sample. This research will collect and statistically analyze this data to evaluate the effectiveness of these tests as a more flexible, cost effective research tool.