U.S. Water News Online
ALBUQUERQUE — Maceo Martinet, a graduate student in biology at University of New
Mexico, set out to find out how effluent from the Albuquerque
wastewater treatment plant was altering the nutrient level of the
river and shallow groundwater around it and with what.
The water samples he took with a syringe three times a day from
five different locations on the river found antibiotics,
nonprescription drugs, insecticides, fire retardant and other
"There were some interesting results that came back from the lab,"
Martinet said he was mostly surprised by the concentration of the
insect repellent DEET in shallow groundwater downstream from the
"This indicates that potentially DEET could be concentrating
within the soil," he said.
Martinet's research was supported with funds from the Water
Resources Research Institute at New Mexico State University. His
findings were reported in a paper that he wrote documenting how human
activities affect biogeochemical cycles.
The contaminants result from human and veterinary use of
pharmaceuticals and products that range from prescription drugs to
fragrances and sunscreens, he said.
Martinet said little information is available on how chronic
exposure to such contaminants affects crustaceans, algae and
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