2016 Pharmaceuticals in Wastewater Study
A number of California wastewater treatment plants have expressed recent interest in monitoring wastewater for pharmaceuticals. The Regional Monitoring Program for Water Quality in San Francisco Bay (RMP) has provided funds to coordinate this effort, and to provide scientific guidance and assistance with data interpretation. Results may be of particular interest to wastewater agencies active in drug take-back efforts, or those exploring the effects of different stages of wastewater treatment on pharmaceutical levels.

With this survey, you can:
     • Indicate your desire to participate in the study,
     • Review essential information about the cost per sample and the sampling protocol,
     • Indicate the number and type of samples you’d like to submit for analysis,
     • Identify what type of support you would like to analyze and interpret your results, and
     • Learn about another opportunity to participate in a study to screen effluent for estrogenicity via a new bioanalytical technique

If you have any questions about the study, please contact:
Jennifer Sun: jennifers@sfei.org, (510) 746-7393

Questions about laboratory contracts can be directed to:
Mike Elliot: melliot@axys.org 

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Sample Analysis & Cost
Wastewater samples will be analyzed by AXYS Analytical (BC, Canada) for 104 pharmaceutical analytes (Lists 1, 3, 4 and 5 of EPA method 1694, AXYS method MLA-075). Lists 1 and 3 include analgesics like ibuprofen, antibiotics like erythromycin and sulfamethoxazole, antibacterial agents like triclosan and triclocarban, and cholesterol drugs like gemfibrozil. List 4 consists of 14 additional analytes, including the widely prescribed antidiabetic medication metformin, which has recently been detected in a number of US water bodies, as well as several commonly prescribed painkillers. List 5 includes 32 more pharmaceuticals, focusing on commonly prescribed steroids and antidepressants.

The approximate cost per sample will be $2000.

AXYS can analyze samples of wastewater influent, partially-treated effluent, or final effluent.  If you would like to submit more than 6 samples for analysis, please contact Jennifer Sun directly.

Additional information about sample collection protocols is described in Section 7.

A separate opportunity to participate in a cell-based bioassay designed to screen composite effluent samples for estrogenic effects is also available at a cost of approximately $1000 per sample. Details are provided at the end of this survey.

Approximate Timeline
Facilities that choose to participate in this study will establish a contract with AXYS for the analysis, then collect and ship samples overnight to the AXYS laboratory in British Columbia, Canada, in summer 2016.

RMP staff will coordinate sample collection and shipping. Results will be provided by AXYS in the fall.
Data Reporting
Results for each facility will be provided individually and may be used as each agency sees fit. This is not an RMP study and there is no requirement to publicly report these data. However, each facility has the option to permit the RMP to prepare information for the public using aggregate, anonymous results. Results could be compiled in a fact sheet or a scientific poster. Facilities may also choose not to be anonymous, allowing themselves to be publicly identified with their own results. RMP staff will be able to provide some assistance with internal or external reporting or public outreach that individual agencies choose to do based on the findings.
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