Contaminants of Emerging Concern Workgroup
Potomac River Basin Drinking Water Source Protection Partnership
Potomac DWSPP’s Contaminants of Emerging Concern Workgroup supports the Partnership by tracking and reporting on findings of research and occurrence of persistent and newly identified threats posed to the Potomac River drinking water supply. Members of the workgroup also advocate and support related national-level studies with the goal of providing sound science on how this emerging challenge should be addressed.
On October 12, 2021, DWSPP held a seminar on microplastics in the Potomac River Basin from a source water protection perspective with a focus on drinking water. The seminar was organized by the Microplastics subcommittee of the Contaminants of Emerging Concern Workgroup.
- Addressing Key Questions on Microplastics in Drinking Water, Brent Alspach, Arcadis
- Research and Actions on Microplastics in Drinking Water by the California State Water Resources Control Board, Scott Coffin, Ph.D., California State Water Resources Control Board
- Developing a Preliminary Conceptual Ecological Risk Assessment and Science Strategy for Microplastics in the Potomac River, Kelly Somers, EPA Region 3
- Maintains an online repository of information and events related to harmful algal blooms (HABs).
- Organized an algal identification workshop in fall of 2017.
- Partnership’s Metro Area Water Utility Committee signed on to a letter asking the FDA to end its recommendation that certain medications be disposed by flushing, January 2016
- UCMR3 – What has been found in the water? Update on Chlorate! – Quarterly meeting information session, February 24, 2015
- Decoding UCMR3: Clear Communication with the Public about Drinking Water Contaminants – Seminar, October 25, 2013
- Supporting proper pharmaceutical disposal activities:
- Supported the Drug Enforcement Administration’s National Take-Back Initiative by publicizing the locations of collection locations within the Potomac River basin for the take-back events held between 2010 and 2013.
- Submitted comments to the Environmental Protection Agency regarding the Questionnaire for Drinking Water Utilities Participating in Emerging Contaminant Sampling Program in June 2009.
- Submitted comments to the Drug Enforcement Administration’s request for input on the disposal of controlled substances by persons not registered with the Drug Enforcement Administration in March 2009.
- Workshop sponsored by American Water Works Association Research Foundation (AWWARF) on behalf of DWSPP: “Research on EDC’s and Risk Communication for Potomac Basin Stakeholders”, held April 11, 2008.
- Sponsored a workshop on Emerging Contaminants Challenges – Alternative Approaches for Water Utilities in May 2007.
- Sponsored an Emerging Contaminants and Water Supply workshop in September 2005.
- Reviewed and commented on USGS data report on a reconnaissance of emerging contaminants in the Potomac River basin.
- Identify contaminants of emerging concerns (CECs) that occur (or have a reasonable potential to occur) in the Potomac River basin. Track research on detection methods, surrogate indicators, and occurrence.
- Identify potential sources of identified CECs.
- Identify patterns of contaminant occurrence, distribution and persistence, especially downstream of identified point sources.
- Compile information on human and ecological/environmental health effects, and epidemiological/toxicological studies to understand health significance and relative risks posed by CECs in drinking water.
- Identify control measures and best management practices to reduce or minimize occurrence of CECs in the Potomac River and its tributaries.
- Inform Partnership members and stakeholders on relative risks of CECs to drinking water quality and on control measures and best management practices.
- Track data reported from the Unregulated Contaminant Monitoring Rule 4 (UCMR4), and evaluate patterns of contaminant detection in the Potomac River Basin.
- Track legislative and regulatory actions regarding CECs.
Congressional testimony in 2006 by ICPRB, Fairfax Water, Washington Aqueduct, Washington Suburban Sanitary Commission, U.S. Geological Survey, and U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. Following a front-page story in the Washington Post on September 6, 2006, reporting on findings of intersex fish in the Potomac River and its upper tributaries, the U.S. House of Representatives Government Reform Committee held an oversight hearing on October 4, 2006.
Congressional testimony in 2008 by U.S. Geological Survey and U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. Following a series of articles from the Associated Press beginning on March 10, 2008, reporting on detection of drugs in the source water supplies of many cities, the U.S. Senate Subcommittee on Transportation Safety, Infrastructure Security and Water Quality held an oversight hearing on April 15, 2008.
- Toxic Contaminants in the Chesapeake Bay and its Watershed: Extent and Severity of Occurrence and Potential Biological Effects (with U.S. EPA and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service 2013)
- Chemical contaminants in water and sediment near fish nesting sites in the Potomac River basin: Determining potential exposures to smallmouth bass (Micropterus dolomieu) (Dana W. Kolpin et al. 2013)
- Effects of watershed densities of animal feeding operations on nutrient concentrations and estrogenic activity in agricultural streams (S. Ciparis 2012; download fee)
- Reproductive endocrine disruption in smallmouth bass (Micropterus dolomieu) in the Potomac River basin: spatial and temporal comparisons of biological effects (Vicki S. Blazer et al. 2011)
- Reproductive health of bass in the Potomac, U.S.A., drainage: part 2. Seasonal occurrence of persistent and emerging organic contaminants (Luke R. Iwanowicz et al. 2009)
- Reproductive health of bass in the Potomac, USA, drainage: Part 1. Exploring the effects of proximity to wastewater treatment plant discharge (Luke R. Iwanowicz et al. 2009)
- Reconnaissance of Persistent and Emerging Contaminants in the Shenandoah and James River Basins, Virginia, During Spring of 2007 (David Alvarez et al. 2008)
- Intersex (Testicular Oocytes) in Smallmouth Bass from the Potomac River and Selected Nearby Drainages (V. S. Blazer et al. 2007)
- A Reconnaissance for Emerging Contaminants in the South Branch Potomac River, Cacapon River, and Williams River Basins, West Virginia, April-October 2004 (Douglas B. Chambers and Thomas J. Leiker 2006)