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Rx for Action

A blog devoted to helping people find local medicine take-back programs and highlighting current research findings and pending legislation.

USGS finds that treated landfill leachate still contains contaminants

From Waste 360 comes a new article about the contaminants that remain even after landfill leachate is treated.

A recent study conducted by the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) shows that treating liquid waste from landfills does not remove all contaminants.

"Landfills are the final depository for much of the solid waste we generate across the U.S. While it is known that such landfill waste can contain a wide variety of contaminants, little research to date has been conducted regarding contaminants of emerging concern (CECs) in landfill leachate that has undergone treatment or storage processes," says Dana Kolpin, research hydrologist at USGS.

In this national-scale study, scientists provided an assessment of CECs in final leachate disposed offsite at landfills across the U.S. to gain a greater understanding of this potential contaminant source to the environment or to pathways that ultimately lead to the environment.

The chemicals detected included a wide range of compounds including pharmaceuticals, industrial chemicals, household chemicals, steroid hormones, and plant or animal sterols.

"Study results documented that final leachate samples contained 101 of the 190 chemicals analyzed for the study, with at least one chemical present in every final leachate sample collected at levels ranging from as low as 2 nanograms per liter to as high as 17,200,000 nanograms per liter," says Kolpin.

The most frequently detected CECs were lidocaine (local anesthetic, found in 91 percent of samples), cotinine (nicotine breakdown product, 86 percent), carisoprodol (muscle relaxant, 82 percent), bisphenol A (component for plastics and thermal paper, 77 percent), and carbamazepine (anticonvulsant, 77 percent), according to the study.

Here's the full article.

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Posted by Laura Kammin at 3:52PM on 11/28/2015
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