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Environmental Health Report: Contaminants of potential human health concern in wastewater and stormwater


Municipal wastewater and urban stormwater contain a wide variety of microbiological and chemical contaminants that may be of concern for human health. The presence and concentrations of specific contaminants can vary significantly depending on characteristics of the area, the nature and integrity of the network, and the climate. Based on a review of international iterature, this report identifies nine classes of contaminants present in wastewater and/or stormwater that are known to be, or highly likely to be, a human health hazard. Some of these contaminants and their associated health effects have long been recognised, but other 'emerging compounds' have not been well characterised and the potential health impacts are not well understood. To determine the potential risks to public health in Aotearoa New Zealand, further analysis is required to determine their presence in our wastewater and stormwater, understand their removal by locally-relevant treatment processes and consider the route and magnitude of exposure, in order to undertake specific risk characterisation and assessment.