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Bioactive Contaminants of Emerging Concern in National Park Waters of the Northern Colorado Plateau, USA, 2012-2016


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Romanok, K.M., Weissinger, R.H., Blackwell, B.R., Keteles, K., Battaglin, W.A., and Bradley, P.M., 2018, Bioactive contaminants of emerging concern in National Park waters of the Northern Colorado Plateau, USA, 2012-2016: U.S. Geological Survey data release,


This dataset describes site location information for samples collected within the western National Parks, USA, (Arches National Park (NP), Bryce Canyon NP, Canyonlands NP, Capitol Reef NP, Dinosaur National Monument (NM), Hovenweep NM, Timpanogos Cave NM, and Zion NP) for water chemistry analyses. Water-quality and bed-sediment samples were analyzed for contaminants of emerging concern at the National Water Quality Laboratory, Denver, Colorado, and Region 8 U.S. Environmental Protection Agency laboratory in Golden, Colorado. Additionally, quality assurance and quality control results are summarized.


Attached Files

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Study Area.png thumbnail 1.51 MB
TableS1_NPCN_SiteInformation.txt 3.67 KB
TableS9_NPCN_BedSedimentData.txt 25.18 KB
TableS8_NPCN_WaterQualityData.txt 5.29 MB
TableS7_NPCN_QAFieldReplicateSummary.txt 100.15 KB
TableS6_NPCN_QAMatrixSpikeSummary.txt 1.52 KB
TableS5_NPCN_QACensoringLevels.txt 2.09 KB
TableS4_NPCN_QAFieldBlank_Summary.txt 2.24 KB
TableS3_NPCN_BedSedimentMethod.txt 4.52 KB
TableS2_NPCN_WaterQualityMethods.txt 24.59 KB
Original FGDC Metadata

30.59 KB


The U.S. National Park Service, Environmental Protection Agency, and U.S. Geological Survey developed a screening program to characterize pharmaceuticals and personal care products (PPCP), wastewater indicators, and pesticides (collectively referred to as Contaminants of Emerging Concern [CECs]) at 21 sites in eight parks within the Northern Colorado Plateau monitoring network. Over a 5-year sample period, at least one PPCP or wastewater indicator compound was detected at most sites on over half of the sample visits, indicating that the presence of CECs is not uncommon even in isolated areas. CEC detections were generally fewer than in other regions and at lower concentrations than in urbanized watersheds. Consistent with studies conducted in other regions both within and outside of national parks, the most frequently detected anthropogenic contaminants in this study included metformin, bisphenol A, DEET, and caffeine. CEC occurrence patterns and the similarity between continuous and discontinuous flow locations suggest that direct contamination from individual visitors may occur. Detected concentrations in this study were generally several orders of magnitude below recognized levels of concern, although reporting limits for some CECs were above those thresholds. Our data do not indicate an immediate need for targeted park management of chemicals or input sources beyond continued precautionary public outreach concerning resource-use ethics and the potential effects of upstream development.
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DOI doi:10.5066/F7NP23PC

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