Jun 13, 2018
“Artificial Sweeteners Reveal Septic System Effluent in Rural Groundwater” with Dr. John Spoelstra.
Dr. John Spoelstra is something like a wastewater detective. If there is secret wastewater that is contaminating groundwater and putting health outcomes at risk, he wants to know. To trace the path of wastewater, he uses a special set of tools: tracer compounds. These are compounds that are not found in the natural environment, but have a lot of human use. Examples are caffeine, acetaminophen, anti-seizure medication, and a recent discovery Dr. Spoelstra and his team have found to be incredibly effective: artificial sweeteners. Think about it: they are in everything from fruit snacks to ketchup to toothpaste and mouthwash. In his latest research, he needed to investigate the source of a surplus of nitrogen in a community’s soil. Artificial sweeteners in rural wells and river seeps pointed to a wastewater problem.
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If you would like more information about this topic, today’s paper is available here: https://doi.org/10.2134/jeq2017.06.0233
This paper is always freely available.
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If you would like to reach out to John, you can find him
“Grand River has highest levels of artificial sweetener pollution on record:” https://www.therecord.com/news-story/4271982-grand-river-has-highest-levels-of-artificial-sweetener-pollution-on-record/
Municipal Wastewater Treatment Systems: https://www.epa.gov/npdes/municipal-wastewater
EPA-Private Wells: https://www.epa.gov/privatewells
EPA-Septic Systems: https://www.epa.gov/septic
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