Based on a monitoring program over the course of a year, we characterize the temporal and spatial distribution of selected micropollutants in an urban watershed within the city of Leipzig, Germany. Micropollutants revealed a ubiquitous presence in untreated and treated wastewater, surface water and groundwater. The loads of 4-nonylphenol in the effluents of the municipal wastewater treatment plant followed a seasonal trend, whereas the loads of all other micropollutants were highly variable and not correlated to seasons. In the surface water, load seasonality of caffeine, galaxolide and tonalide resulted from a rapid removal with increased water temperature. The loads of 4-nonylphenol and of caffeine in the colder months increased when rainfall occurred. In the groundwater, complex spatial and temporal patterns were apparent and were related to varying input, retardation and removal processes. As a consequence, an assessment of micropollutants in urban waters should consider different micropollutants' temporal and spatial variability. © 2009 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
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