Artificial Sweeteners in Groundwater Indicate Contamination from Septic Systems

Researchers from the University of Waterloo have found evidence that artificial sweeteners are making their way into rural groundwater through septic system wastewater.

The study describes how the researchers tested private, rural groundwater wells in the Nottawasaga River Watershed in Ontario for four artificial sweeteners as a way to detect groundwater impacted by human wastewater being released by septic systems in the area.

Artificial sweeteners are ideal human wastewater tracers as they exit the human body essentially unchanged and are not completely removed by most wastewater treatment processes. Human wastewater contains relatively high concentrations of artificial sweeteners.

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