Water, Air, & Soil Pollution

, 230:28 | Cite as

Simultaneous Determination of Selected Trace Contaminants in Drinking Water Using Solid-Phase Extraction-High Performance Liquid Chromatography-Tandem Mass Spectrometry

  • Haiting Zhang
  • Danielle West
  • Honglan ShiEmail author
  • Yinfa Ma
  • Craig Adams
  • Todd Eichholz


Accurate determination of emerging contaminants in drinking water constitutes a major environmental challenge for which highly sensitive analytical methods are needed. This work details the development of a novel highly sensitive solid-phase extraction-high performance liquid chromatography-tandem mass spectrometry (SPE-HPLC-MS/MS) method for simultaneous determination of a diverse panel of widely used trace contaminants, including two pharmaceuticals (fluoxetine and gemfibrozil), three pesticides (3-hydroxycarbofuran, azinphos-methyl, and chlorpyrifos), and two hormones (testosterone and progesterone) in water. The method is highly reproducible and sensitive with detection limits at subnanogram per liter level (0.05–0.5 ng/L). It was used to monitor the occurrence of these contaminants in source and drinking water across 18 drinking water treatment facilities in Missouri, USA in 1 year including cold winter and hot summer seasons. The experiment results indicated that all of the monitored contaminant concentrations are very low, lower than or close to the method detection limits, in the selected water treatment facilities. Pesticide concentrations were slightly elevated in some source waters during hot season, whereas slightly higher pharmaceuticals were observed during cold season. The concentrations of two hormones were lower than the limits of detection in all the water samples. These contaminants were present, if any, at below detection limits in all treated drinking water samples analyzed, suggesting that treatment processes effectively removed the contaminants studied herein.

Graphical Abstract


Solid-phase extraction-HPLC-MS/MS Emerging water contaminants Seasonal change Pharmaceutical Pesticide Hormone 



The authors would like to also thank Dr. Casey Burton and Charles Roberts for their editing assistance on this manuscript.

Funding Information

This study received funding from the Missouri Department of Natural Resources.

Supplementary material

11270_2018_4066_MOESM1_ESM.docx (50 kb)
ESM 1 (DOCX 49 kb)


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of ChemistryMissouri University of Science and TechnologyRollaUSA
  2. 2.Center of Research in Energy and EnvironmentMissouri University of Science and TechnologyRollaUSA
  3. 3.Department of Civil EngineeringSaint Louis UniversitySt. LouisUSA
  4. 4.Missouri Department of Natural ResourcesJefferson CityUSA

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