Compounds of Emerging Concern (CECs)
As new technologies allow us to more effectively detect chemicals and other substances at lower levels, we can zero in on substances that were either previously not measurable or may be newly introduced. From medicines and personal care products to pesticides and flame retardants, many compounds wind up in our wastewater systems, potentially making their way into our water sources. There is uncertainty about their short- and long-term health effects, as well as the best processes to reduce or remove them. Some of these substances, known as endocrine disrupting compounds (EDCs), can trigger developmental and reproductive effects in aquatic life. Additionally, many compounds may bioaccumulate and can be passed up the food chain. As more data becomes available, regulations could follow suit, setting limits for these compounds that the water sector must comply with. Utilities must find new approaches to monitor and treat for these compounds, and must also be prepared to address new concerns that are not yet known.
Microplastics in Water
This microplastics fact sheet provides helpful context on this important emerging issue and describes WRF's ongoing efforts to fund research on this topic.