Use of XAD-2 macroreticular resin for the recovery of ambient trace levels of pesticides and industrial organic pollutants from water

  • G. A. V. Rees
  • L. Au


These recovery studies have shown that ambient levels of pesticides, and related industrial materials can be recovered from water with good efficiency using small XAD-2 columns. Work with PCBs has also demonstrated that samples as large as 10 gallons may be extracted without re-elution of the compounds under study, thus permitting very low concentrations to be detected and measured.

The adsorption efficiency of the Resin was tested by running large samples (47 L) of natural river water through two successive cartridges. Individual desorption of each cartridge showed that there was no trace of carry through and the organochlorines and PCBs were completely adsorbed on the first cartridge, at levels of 3 ppt for PCBs and 0.009 ppt of pp-DDD. Thus concentrations of 0.1 ppt of PCB and 0.1 ppt of organochlorinated pesticides can be detected in natural waters. The capability of detecting such low levels of pesticides and PCBs prompted collection of large (47 L) water samples from two Ontario rivers as well as samples of suspended sediments, invertebrates, plankton and fish, to study the bio-accumulation of these compounds. While the highest residue in water was PCB at 0.05 ppb, the corresponding levels in plankton, invertebrates, suspended solids and fish were 20, 40, 400, and 1400 ppb, respectively. Similarly, bio-accumulation was found to progress up the food chain for organochlorines: ppb levels were detected in fish where the water contained only 0.001 ppt.


River Water PCBs Suspended Sediment Trace Level Organochlorinated Pesticide 
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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag New York Inc. 1979

Authors and Affiliations

  • G. A. V. Rees
    • 1
  • L. Au
    • 1
  1. 1.Pesticide SectionOntario Ministry of the EnvironmentRexdaleCanada

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