Organic micropollutants measured in roof-harvested rainwater from rural and urban environmental justice communities in Arizona

Norma Villagómez-Márquez, Leif Abrell, Theresa Foley, Mónica D. Ramírez-Andreotta

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


Due to global water scarcity and population growth, multiple solutions are needed to conserve and collect water, especially in arid and semi-arid regions of the planet. As the practice of harvesting rainwater grows, it is important to assess the quality of roof-harvested rainwater (RHRW). This study measured twelve organic micropollutants (OMPs) in RHRW samples collected between 2017 and 2020 by community scientists, with approximately two hundred RHRW samples and corresponding field blank analyzed annually. The OMPs analyzed were atrazine, pentachlorophenol (PCP), chlorpyrifos, 2,4-dichlorophenoxyacetic acid (2,4-D), prometon, simazine, carbaryl, nonylphenol (NP), perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA), perfluorooctane sulfonic acid (PFOS), perfluorobutane sulfonic acid (PFBS), and perfluorononanoic acid (PFNA). OMP concentrations measured in RHRW were below the following existing standards: US EPA Primary Drinking Water Standard, Arizona Department of Environmental Quality (ADEQ) Partial Body Contact for Surface Waters, and ADEQ Full Body Contact for Surface Waters for analytes in this study. At the time the study was conducted, 28 % of RHRW samples exceeded the non-enforceable US EPA Lifetime Health Advisory (HA) of 70 ng L−1 for the combined sum of PFOS and PFOA with a mean exceedance concentration of 189 ng L−1. When comparing PFOA and PFOS to the June 15, 2022 interim updated HAs of 0.004 ng L−1 and 0.02 ng L−1, respectively, all samples exceeded these values. No RHRW samples exceeded the final proposed HA of 2000 ng L−1 for PFBS. The limited number of state and federal standards established for the contaminants highlighted in this study indicate potential regulatory gaps and that users need to be aware that OMPs may be present in RHRW. Based on these concentrations, domestic activities and intended uses should be carefully considered.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number162662
JournalScience of the Total Environment
StatePublished - Jun 10 2023


  • Contaminants of emerging concern (CECs)
  • Organic micropollutants (OMPs)
  • Per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS)
  • Pesticides, industrial compounds
  • Precipitation
  • Roof-harvested rainwater (RHRW)

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Environmental Engineering
  • Environmental Chemistry
  • Waste Management and Disposal
  • Pollution


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