Evaluation of emerging waterborne contaminants in Ireland

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Courtesy of IWA Publishing

A group of potential emerging contaminants in two Irish drinking water supplies were investigated. The aim was to investigate the presence of emerging contaminants which are not currently routinely monitored or regulated as part of the European Communities Drinking Water Regulations SI 278 of 2007 but are known or anticipated to occur in drinking water supplies. A monthly sampling and analysis programme was carried out to examine the presence of seven groups of potential emerging contaminants in two Irish drinking water supplies. The seven groups selected were: herbicides, molluscides, endocrine disrupters, perfluorinated chemicals, disinfection by-products, personal care products, and heavy metals. The investigation showed that the majority of the seven selected groups of contaminants were not detected at either drinking water site. Results from the first site (water treatment plant (WTP) 1) showed elevated levels of musk xylenes, a member of the personal care products suite of tests. The specific compound detected was galaxolide, a polycyclic musk found in perfumes, soaps, cosmetics and detergents. Results from the second site (WTP 2) showed elevated levels of oestrone, a member of endocrine disrupter steroid suite of tests. Oestrone is one of three types of oestrogen made by the body and is produced by the ovaries as well as by adipose tissue and the adrenal glands. Results from both sites showed that of the seven groups of contaminants chosen for examination most were not detected. The musk xylene compound galaxolide was detected on one occasion at a level just above the guideline limit and oestrone a component of the endocrine disrupting chemicals steroid suite of tests was found on two occasions throughout the study.

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