Report on chemicals in groundwater
The MPCA's recent report provides significant information about groundwater in Minnesota. Baseline testing of 40 wells was done to find out what chemicals of emerging concern are currently in our groundwater and how they might be harmful. Chemicals of emerging concern are not commonly monitored and include pharmaceuticals and personal care products. This information is passed on to the Department of Health so it can establish health guidelines.
This study suggested endocrine active chemicals and other contaminants of emerging concern to human health were present at low concentrations in the groundwater underlying urban areas in Minnesota that may be affected by wastewater contamination. Over 80% of the detected chemicals were measured at very low concentrations. No concentrations exceeded any applicable health guidance values established by the Minnesota Department of Health.
The most frequently detected chemicals were the fire retardant tris (dichloroisopropyl) phosphate, the antibiotic sulfamethoxazole, and the plasticizers bisphenol A and tributyl phosphate, which were detected in approximately 20% of the sampled wells.
The endocrine active chemicals (EACs) were detected in three of the sampled wells. The detected EACs were bisphenol A, trans-diethylstilbestrol, and 4-cumylphenol. Two of the wells with detections of these chemicals tapped a landfill-leachate plume, and the remaining well was shallow and supplied water to a residence.
This study was made possible through funding from the Clean Water Legacy Amendment.