Environmental Monitoring and Assessment

, Volume 175, Issue 1–4, pp 573–587 | Cite as

Pesticide concentrations in water and sediment and associated invertebrate toxicity in Del Puerto and Orestimba Creeks, California, 2007–2008

  • Michael Ensminger
  • Rick Bergin
  • Frank Spurlock
  • Kean S. Goh


The California’s San Joaquin River and its tributaries including Orestimba (ORC) and Del Puerto (DPC) Creeks are listed on the 2006 US EPA Clean Water Act §303(d) list for pesticide impairment. From December 2007 through June 2008, water and sediment samples were collected from both creeks in Stanislaus County to determine concentrations of organophosphorus (OP) and pyrethroid insecticides and to identify toxicity to Ceriodaphnia dubia and Hyalella azteca. OPs were detected in almost half (10 of 21) of the water samples, at concentrations from 0.005 to 0.912 μg L − 1. Diazinon was the most frequently detected OP, followed by chlorpyrifos and dimethoate. Two water samples were toxic to C. dubia; based on median lethal concentrations (LC50), chlorpyrifos was likely the cause of this toxicity. Pyrethroids were detected more frequently in sediment samples (18 detections) than in water samples (three detections). Pyrethroid concentrations in water samples ranged from 0.005 to 0.021 μg L − 1. These concentrations were well below reported C. dubia LC50s, and toxicity was not observed in laboratory bioassays. Cyfluthrin, bifenthrin, esfenvalerate, and λ-cyhalothrin were detected in sediment samples at concentrations ranging from 1.0 to 74.4 ng g − 1, dry weight. At DPC, all but one sediment sample caused 100% toxicity to H. azteca. Based on estimated toxicity units (TUs), bifenthrin was likely responsible for this toxicity and λ-cyhalothrin also contributed. At ORC, survival of H. azteca was significantly reduced in four of the 11 sediment samples. However, pyrethroids were detected in only two of these samples. Based on TUs, bifenthrin and λ-cyhalothrin likely contributed to the toxicity.


Organophosphorus insecticides Pyrethroid Ceriodaphnia dubia Hyalella azteca Aquatic toxicity 


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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  • Michael Ensminger
    • 1
  • Rick Bergin
    • 1
  • Frank Spurlock
    • 1
  • Kean S. Goh
    • 1
  1. 1.Surface Water Protection Program, Environmental Monitoring BranchCalifornia Department of Pesticide RegulationSacramentoUSA

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