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Emerging Contaminants
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For more information on Emerging Contaminants and how they are interpreted please visit the NJDEP Contaminants Page or USGS Contaminants Page.

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What is an Emerging Contaminant?

Contaminants of emerging concern (CECs) are chemicals that have entered the environment through human activities. They have been detected in humans or other living organisms and have been found to persist in the environment, but are not routinely monitored for and are currently unregulated.

These "emerging contaminants" or "contaminants of emerging concern" are commonly derived from municipal, agricultural, and industrial wastewater sources and pathways.


Some examples of Emerging Contaminants


1. Hexavalent Chromium (Hex-Chrome)

Chromium is an odorless and tasteless metallic element. Chromium is found naturally in rocks, plants, soil and volcanic dust, and animals.

The most common forms of chromium that occur in natural waters in the environment are:
Trivalent chromium (chromium-3)
Hexavalent chromium (chromium-6)

Chromium-6 occurs naturally in the environment from the erosion of natural chromium deposits. It can also be produced by industrial processes. There are demonstrated instances of chromium being released to the environment by leakage, poor storage, or inadequate industrial waste disposal practices.

For more information on the topic visit:

Hex-Chrome Info

Click for a copy of Mike Furrey’ s AWWA-NJ Hexavalent Chromium testimony to the Senate Environment and Energy Committee



2. 1,4-Dioxane


 1,4-Dioxane is used as a purifying agent in the manufacture of pharmaceuticals and is a by-product in the manufacture of polyethylene terephthalate

1,4-Dioxane is a synthetic industrial chemical that is completely miscible in water

It is used in many products, including paint strippers, dyes, greases, varnishes and waxes. 1,4-Dioxane is also found as an impurity in antifreeze and aircraft deicing fluids and in some consumer products (deodorants, shampoos and cosmetics)

For more information visit the following sites:

EPA Technical Sheet

DrinkTap 1,4-Dioxane Info


3. Perfluorinated Compounds (PFC's)

Perfluorinated compounds (PFCs), or more accurately perfluoroalkyls, are manmade compounds used in the manufacture of stain, oil and water-resistant consumer products. They are also found in products such as firefighting foams, cleaners, cosmetics, paints, adhesives and insecticides. PFCs are persistent in the environment, because natural processes do not rapidly degrade them.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has identified several PFCs used in manufacturing that the agency considers potentially important environmental contaminants. They are: perfluorooctanesulfonic acid (PFOS), perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA), perfluorononanoic acid (PFNA), perfluorohexanesulfonic acid (PFHxS), perfluoroheptanoic acid (PFHpA) and perfluorobutanesulfonic acid (PFBS).

For more information click the link below:

PFC DrinkTap Info

PFOA Article


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