A new PSU study has found elevated levels of caffeine in waters off the coast of Oregon.
Of 14 coastal locations sampled, Cape Lookout had the highest caffeine levels, leading researchers to conclude that possibly septic systems, not wastewater treatment plants, are the source of the pollution.
[Assistant professor of Environmental Science and Management Elise] Granek said the study focused on caffeine because it “is a pretty easy to look at, you don’t need a lot of permits... but it’s also a really good tracer of wastewater. If we see caffeine, we have a really good idea that it’s coming from a human wastewater source because caffeine is naturally produced by a number of plants, but there are no known plants in the temperate zone that produce caffeine.”
Read more at The Tillamook Headlight Herald.