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ARS Home » Midwest Area » St. Paul, Minnesota » Soil and Water Management Research » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #282318

Title: Understanding Sources of Contaminants of Emerging Concern: An Evaluation of Land Use with Occurrence of Aquatic Contaminants

item Rice, Pamela
item SWACKHAMER, DEBORAH - University Of Minnesota
item NOVAK, PAIGE - University Of Minnesota
item ARNOLD, WILLIAM - University Of Minnesota
item Koskinen, William
item FAIRBAIRN, DAVID - University Of Minnesota
item SPANDE, ELIZABETH - University Of Minnesota
item BARBER, BRIAN - University Of Minnesota

Submitted to: Technical Report
Publication Type: Research Technical Update
Publication Acceptance Date: 6/4/2012
Publication Date: 7/30/2012
Citation: Rice, P.J., Swackhamer, D., Novak, P., Arnold, W., Koskinen, W.C., Fairbairn, D., Spande, E., Barber, B. 2012. Understanding Sources of Contaminants of Emerging Concern: An Evaluation of Land Use with Occurrence of Aquatic Contaminants. Technical Report. Available at:

Interpretive Summary:

Technical Abstract: The occurrence of pharmaceuticals, antibiotics, hormones, and other contaminants of emerging concern (CEC) in surface waters, nationally and internationally, raises questions of their source, fate, and potential ecological and human health effects. A number of CECs have been shown to disrupt the normal function of the endocrine system or promote antimicrobial resistance at environmentally relevant levels. We have begun the collection of land use data and surface water and sediment samples from four sub-watersheds in southeastern Minnesota, USA; representing two sub-watersheds dominated by agricultural land use and two sub-watersheds dominated by urban land use. We are in the process of analyzing water and sediment samples for selected CECs including pharmaceuticals, antibiotics, hormones, pesticides, phytoestrogens and wastewater contaminants. The occurrence of CECs and land use assessments will be compared to develop contaminant signatures for source identification and to evaluate the magnitude of impact of agricultural and non-agricultural land use on surface waters. Confirmation of contaminant signatures associated with land use will provide a tool that can be implemented in other watersheds to identify and track pollution sources. Once contaminant sources are identified, management and mitigation strategies can be implemented to reduce their occurrence; protecting aquatic habitats and potentially, human health.