Pesticide and trace metals in surface waters and sediments of rivers entering the Corner Inlet Marine National Park, Victoria, Australia

In this study, the authors collected water and sediment samples from up to 17 sites in waterways entering the Corner Inlet Marine National Park monthly between November 2009 and April 2010, with the Chemcatcher passive sampler system deployed at these sites in November 2009 and March 2010. Trace metal concentrations were low, with none occurring at concentrations with the potential for adverse ecological effects. The agrochemical residues data showed the presence of a small number of pesticides at very low concentration (ng/L) in the surface waters of streams entering the Corner Inlet, and as widespread, but still limited contamination of sediments. Concentrations of pesticides detected were relatively low and several orders of magnitude below reported ecotoxicological effect and hazardous concentration values. The low levels of pesticides detected in this study indicate that agricultural industries were responsible agrochemical users. This research project is a rarity in aligning both agrochemical usage data obtained from chemical resellers in the target catchment with residue analysis of environmental samples. Based on frequency of detection and concentrations, prometryn is the priority chemical of concern for both the water and sediments studied, but this chemical was not listed in reseller data. Consequently, the risks may be greater than the field data would suggest, and priorities for monitoring different since some commonly used herbicides (such as glyphosate, phenoxy acid herbicides, and sulfonyl urea herbicides) were not screened. Therefore, researchers, academia, industry, and government need to identify ways to achieve a more coordinated land use approach for obtaining information on the use of chemicals in a catchment, their presence in waterways, and the longer term performance of chemicals, particularly where they are used multiple times in a year.

Authors: Allinson G, Allinson M, Bui A, Zhang P, Croatto G, Wightwick A, Rose G, Walters R. ;Full Source: Environmental Science & Pollution Research International. 2015 Nov 23. [Epub ahead of print] ;