Conventional drinking water resources are not a sustainable solution to supply the rapidly growing populations in traditionally arid states. These areas, as well as others around the world, are increasingly reliant on recycling treated municipal effluent to supplement water resources. In most instances, treated effluent is discharged into a body of water or a groundwater system that supplies the influent for a downstream drinking water treatment facility. It is debatable whether the process of utilizing aquatic environmental buffers enhances or contaminates the treated effluent. This study evaluated the ability of different types of environmental buffers (groundwater recharge, riverbank filtration, wetland treatment, river and lake discharge) to attenuate contaminants representative of different classes and different environmental fate by measuring conventional water quality parameters as well as unregulated constituents of concern in several field studies representative of different types of environmental buffers.