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

Abstract

Water and sediment samples were collected 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.

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Acknowledgments

This project was funded by the then Department of Primary Industries (DPI) Chemical Standards Branch and DPI Future Farming Systems Research Key Project FF104 Accountable Agriculture (Project 06889).

The authors would like to thank the Agrochemicals Research team for “putting in the hard yards” to make this project a success under short notice and at times trying circumstances, despite the difficulties posed by such a complex, field-based analytical program, including Simon Phelan, Karen Young, Ron Walsh, and John Cauduro. The authors would also like to thank Mahendrra Raj and CSB’s Michael Laity for their help with the chemical resellers survey

The project team wishes to express its thanks to the members of South Gippsland Water, West Gippsland CMA, Parks Victoria, and the Centre for Aquatic Pollution Identification and Management (CAPIM) for their assistance with site selection and sampling.

This work was conducted under National Parks Act 1975 Research Permit # 10005174, issued by the Department of Sustainability and Environment, November 2009.

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Correspondence to Graeme Allinson.

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Responsible editor: Roland Kallenborn

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Allinson, G., Allinson, M., Bui, A. et al. Pesticide and trace metals in surface waters and sediments of rivers entering the Corner Inlet Marine National Park, Victoria, Australia. Environ Sci Pollut Res 23, 5881–5891 (2016). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11356-015-5795-6

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Keywords

  • Chemcatcher passive sampler
  • Herbicide
  • Prometryn
  • Simazine
  • Trace metals
  • Sediment
  • Corner Inlet Marine National Park, Australia