Faculty Advisor

Kinsel, Mary E.


Natural estrogens are endocrine disrupting compounds and common pollutants in municipal wastewater. The concentration of 17β-estradiol was monitored in effluent from both the southeast and northwest Carbondale wastewater treatment plants (WWTPs) and their receiving waters for nine weeks. The analysis was performed using gas chromatography tandem mass spectrometry (GC/MS/MS) and the internal standard estrone 3-methyl ether. Recoveries were 60.0±3.9%, and significant loss of analyte was found after storage greater than one week. The northwest effluent (NWE) had higher 17β-estradiol levels of 7.1-76.2ng/L than the southeast effluent (SEE) between Below Detection Limits (BDL)-54.0ng/L, which suggests 17β-estradiol was carried with colloidal organic particulates. River water had very similar 17β-estradiol concentrations compared to the effluent despite dilution. The university exhibited no measurable effect on 17β-estradiol levels when samples from in-session were compared with samples from out-of-session. Future ecological studies are recommended to determine the effect of estrogenic pollution on fish populations of receiving waters.