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Organic Priority Pollutants in New York City Municipal Wastewaters: 1989–1993

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Analyses of New York City municipal wastewaters were performed to determine the frequency of detection of organic priority pollutants (OPPs) and to identify which compounds commonly occur. Six sampling events, from 1989 to 1993, representing 168 samples and ∼19 000 analytical determinations, detected very few OPPs regularly in either influent or effluent. Identified OPPs included 41 of 112 possible OPPs, or 37 different compounds (14 volatiles, 13 semivolatiles, and 10 pesticides) detected at least once in influent waters and 32 compounds (12 volatiles, 11 semivolatiles, and 9 pesticides) detected at least once in effluent waters. The frequency of occurrence for the three analyte categories never exceeded 19% for influents or 15% for effluents. More commonly identified OPPs included five volatile compounds, one semivolatile compound, and one pesticide. With few exceptions, volatile and semivolatile concentrations were <100 μg/L, and pesticide concentrations were <0.2 μg/L. Comparisons of effluent concentrations to most stringent standards (MSS) for receiving water showed five compounds to occasionally exceed MSS, with only a single volatile compound, tetrachloroethene, exceeding them with any regularity. This study adds to the limited literature on OPPs in the municipal waste stream, confirming the occurrence of most OPPs to be infrequent in water pollution control plants (WPCPs), and when present, to typically be at low concentrations.


Document Type: Research Article


Publication date: September 1, 1996

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  • Water Environment Research® (WER®) publishes peer-reviewed research papers, research notes, state-of-the-art and critical reviews on original, fundamental and applied research in all scientific and technical areas related to water quality, pollution control, and management. An annual Literature Review provides a review of published books and articles on water quality topics from the previous year.

    Published as: Sewage Works Journal, 1928 - 1949; Sewage and Industrial Wastes, 1950 - 1959; Journal Water Pollution Control Federation, 1959 - Oct 1989; Research Journal Water Pollution Control Federation, Nov 1989 - 1991; Water Environment Research, 1992 - present.
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