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Tracking Sources of Sewage in the Environment


July 27, 2010

Exponent is pleased to feature the newest addition of the Environmental Forensics Notes, with the feature article: "Tracking Sources of Sewage in the Environment,” by Exponent Scientists Dr Stephen Mudge and Dr. Ann Michelle Morrison.

Sewage is a complex and changeable mixture of natural and man-made components. No two sewage streams are exactly alike. Whether they originate from municipal sewage systems (e.g., discharges from combined sewer overflows [CSOs]), wastewater treatment plants (WWTPs), urban storm drains, agricultural runoff, or septic systems, there are unique chemical signatures within a sewage waste stream that can be used to track it. Release of sewage into the aquatic environment can result in exposing humans and ecological resources to fecal pathogens, pharmaceutical and personal care products (PPCPs), and domestic and industrial chemical waste. As with any chemical forensic case, defining the problem is critical to identifying the correct forensic methods needed for finding the solution. Read more.

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