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Procedures are developed for estimating the environmental concentrations of chemical components contained in consumer products and disposed down the drain. The concentrations are estimated by considering the quantities of the chemical used in consumer products, reported values of per capita wastewater flow, the extent of removal and degradation in wastewater treatment systems, and estimates of the factors by which wastewater sludge is amended in soil and effluent is diluted in receiving streams. The stream dilution factor (the ratio of river flow rate to the effluent discharge rate) is calculated for each of 161 major river basins in the United States. The median of these values is about 100, with 91 percent of them being greater than 10. The use of these estimates in environmental risk assessments is discussed, as well as assumptions and limitations.
consumer products, wastewater treatment, microbial degradation, sludge disposal, effluent dilution, transport, aquatic environments, models, aquatic toxicology, hazard assessment
Environmental engineer, Sharon Woods Technical Center, The Proctor & Gamble Co., Cincinnati, Ohio