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ARS Home » Midwest Area » St. Paul, Minnesota » Soil and Water Management Research » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #315695

Title: Understanding sources of contaminants of emerging concern in a mixed use watershed

item Rice, Pamela
item FAIRBAIRN, DAVID - University Of Minnesota
item KARPUZCU, EKREM - University Of Minnesota
item KAUFENBERG, ELIZABETH - University Of Minnesota
item ARNOLD, WILLIAM - University Of Minnesota
item NOVAK, PAIGE - University Of Minnesota
item KOSKINEN, WILLIAM - Retired ARS Employee
item BARBER, BRIAN - University Of Minnesota
item SWACKHAMER, DEBORAH - University Of Minnesota

Submitted to: American Chemical Society Abstracts
Publication Type: Abstract Only
Publication Acceptance Date: 5/12/2015
Publication Date: 8/10/2015
Citation: Rice, P.J., Fairbairn, D., Karpuzcu, E., Kaufenberg, E., Arnold, W., Novak, P., Koskinen, W., Barber, B., Swackhamer, D. 2015. Understanding sources of contaminants of emerging concern in a mixed use watershed [abstract]. American Chemical Society Abstracts. Picogram. 88:75. Abstract No. 195.

Interpretive Summary:

Technical Abstract: Contaminants of emerging concern (CECs) have been detected in surface waters worldwide and include biologically active compounds originating from agricultural, residential, and industrial sources that may result in potential ecological and health effects. The objectives of this research were to determine what CECs are associated with specific land-uses, identify indicator compounds to be used as monitoring tools and provide science-based recommendations for more effective monitoring strategies. Water and sediment samples collected from four sub-watersheds of the Zumbro River Watershed, Minnesota, USA, were evaluated for pesticides, pharmaceuticals, antibiotics, phytoestrogens and wastewater contaminants. Agricultural herbicides and non-prescription drugs were more commonly detected than prescription drugs or phytoestrogens. The most commonly detected CECs were atrazine, caffeine, acetaminophen, the mosquito repellent DEET, and metalochlor. The antibiotics erythromycin and sulfamethoxazole were not found as frequently as other compounds, but were found in the greatest concentrations. Detection frequencies of the five most detected CECs were similar across the four subwatershed sites. Urban pharmaceuticals and personal care products (PCPPs) exhibited higher concentrations during low-flow periods, while run-off associated pesticides had higher concentrations during spring and summer high flow periods. PCPPs were significantly elevated in water or sediment at sites with greater population density and percentage of developed land use. We found unique marker compounds that would differentiate agricultural sources from non-agricultural sources. Cotinine, DEET, carbamazepine, erythromycin and sulfamethoxazole were found to be good markers for urban wastewater-derived sources, and atrazine, metolachlor and acetochlor were found to be good markers for agricultural sources. These results can be used to design more effective targeted sampling and monitoring programs. Greater understanding of the occurrence, concentration and sources of these contaminants will guide implementation of appropriate reduction and remediation strategies.