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See detailNon-target screening reveals time trends of polar micropollutants in a riverbank filtration system
Albergamo, Vittorio; Schollée, Jennifer E.; Schymanski, Emma UL et al

in Environmental Science and Technology (2019), 53(13), 7584-7594

The historic emissions of polar micropollutants in a natural drinking water source were investigated by nontarget screening with high-resolution mass spectrometry and open cheminformatics tools. The study ... [more ▼]

The historic emissions of polar micropollutants in a natural drinking water source were investigated by nontarget screening with high-resolution mass spectrometry and open cheminformatics tools. The study area consisted of a riverbank filtration transect fed by the river Lek, a branch of the lower Rhine, and exhibiting up to 60-year travel time. More than 18,000 profiles were detected. Hierarchical clustering revealed that 43% of the 15 most populated clusters were characterized by intensity trends with maxima in the 1990s, reflecting intensified human activities, wastewater treatment plant upgrades and regulation in the Rhine riparian countries. Tentative structure annotation was performed using automated in silico fragmentation. Candidate structures retrieved from ChemSpider were scored based on the fit of the in silico fragments to the experimental tandem mass spectra, similarity to openly accessible accurate mass spectra, associated metadata, and presence in a suspect list. Sixty-seven unique structures (72 over both ionization modes) were tentatively identified, 25 of which were confirmed and included contaminants so far unknown to occur in bank filtrate or in natural waters at all, such as tetramethylsulfamide. This study demonstrates that many classes of hydrophilic organics enter riverbank filtration systems, persisting and migrating for decades if biogeochemical conditions are stable. [less ▲]

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