Skip to content. | Skip to navigation

There is a newer version of this site available at

Personal tools

B. Veterinary antibiotics in water

How do veterinary antibiotics reach the aquatic environment?

Contamination of the soil may be followed by surface run-off, driftage or leaching into the surface and/or the ground water. Also, antibiotics used for aquaculture may directly contaminate the aquatic environment, particularly when pens are placed in natural seawaters39.

Have there been findings that confirm antibiotic presence in ground or surface water?

Antibiotics that have been reported in ground and surface water include macrolides, sulfonamides, tetracycline, chloramphenicol, chlortetracycline, sulfamethazine, lincomycin, trimethoprim, sulfadimethoxine and sulfamethazine.  The veterinary and human antibiotic sulfamethoxazole was found in 23% of the 47 groundwater sites tested across the United States, and is one of the most frequently detected chemical compounds as determined by a national survey of wastewater contaminants.  A large proportion of aquatic antibiotic contamination is thought to be from human antibiotic usage, i.e. hospital effluents and municipal sewage and wastewater that eventually ends up in the environment 40.



Document Actions