Organochlorine pesticides and dissolved organic matter within a system of urban exorheic lakes


Urban lakes represent the most extensive water bodies in cities and provide blue ecosystem services, by retaining pollutants, offering cultural services, and mitigating climate change. Human activities threaten to decrease the supply of ecosystem services associated with urban lakes. Exorheic lakes play an essential role in reducing and changing the characteristics of pollutants and organic matter along the environmental continuum. This study aims to gain further understanding on the distribution and fate of organochlorine pesticides (OCPs) in relation to fluorescent dissolved organic matter (DOM) within an exorheic lake system, located along Colentina river, Bucharest. Results indicated a historical usage of HCHs, which were present in lake water and sediment samples, in concentrations exceeding the regulatory limits, with potential eco-toxicity on aquatic biota. Decades of intense applications along the river, before OCPs ban, led to their accumulation in sediments and their re-mobilization, each year, after the lakes were drained, dredged, and refilled. Fluorescence measurements revealed that DOM accumulated in certain lakes due to wastewater discharges, and surface runoff, but decreased towards the end of the exorheic lakes through dilution, sedimentation, and biodegradation. The results also showed that fluorescent DOM may have a substantial impact on OCPs cycle in urban lakes and may help to determine the conditions and effectiveness of removing OCPs from water and sediments. These issues contribute to the decrease of ecosystem services supply associated with urban lakes, having multiple hidden consequences on the urban environment.

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The authors CL Popa, SI Dontu, and EM Carstea acknowledge the support of the Ministry of Research and Innovation, CNCS - UEFISCDI, project number PN-III-P1-1.1-TE-2016-0646, within PNCDI III, and by the Core Program OPTRONICA VI, project number 18N/2019. EM Carstea acknowledges the support of project number 152/2016, SMIS 108109. The authors EM Carstea, EA Levei, and O Cadar acknowledge the support of the Ministry of Research and Innovation, through Program 1 - Development of the National Research and Development System, Subprogram 1.2 - Institutional Performance - Projects for Financing Excellence in RDI, Contract No. 19PFE/2018.

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Correspondence to Cristina Liana Popa.

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Popa, C.L., Dontu, S.I., Carstea, E.M. et al. Organochlorine pesticides and dissolved organic matter within a system of urban exorheic lakes. Environ Monit Assess 192, 59 (2020).

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  • Urban lake
  • Water quality
  • Sediments
  • Organochlorine pesticides
  • Organic matter fluorescence