Contrasting Pesticide Occurrence in Urban and Agricultural Streams in the Midwestern United States

Monday, 15 December 2014
Peter C Van Metre1, Mark William Sandstrom2, Lisa H Nowell2, Barbara J Mahler1, Jeffrey W Frey2, Michelle Hladik2 and Robert W Gilliom2, (1)U.S. Geological Survey, Austin, TX, United States, (2)US Geological Survey, Denver, CO, United States
Pesticides are known to degrade stream ecosystems in agricultural and urban settings. Occurrence, seasonal timing, and predicted toxicity of pesticides in these two settings, however, can vary greatly. In 2013, the U.S. Geological Survey and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency characterized water-quality stressors—contaminants, nutrients, and sediment—and ecological conditions in 100 streams across the Midwestern U.S. Water samples were collected weekly from May through July and sediment and ecology were sampled once near the end of the water-sampling period. Water samples were analyzed for about 240 pesticides and pesticide degradates and sediment samples were analyzed for about 120 pesticides and degradates. The spatial and temporal distribution of detected compounds and the pesticide toxicity index (PTI) of compound mixtures indicate important differences in pesticide occurrence between agricultural and urban settings. Although higher pesticide concentrations generally are found in agricultural settings, the more frequent occurrence of insecticides in urban settings can lead to higher PTI scores in some urban streams than in agricultural streams.