Stormwater treatment ponds receive elevated levels of metals from urban runoff, but the effects of these pollutants on organisms residing in the ponds are unknown. We investigated the accumulation of Cu, Zn, and Pb by macroinvertebrates collected from stormwater treatment ponds in Maryland serving commercial, highway, residential and open-space watersheds, and determined whether watershed land-use classification influences metal concentrations in macroinvertebrates, sediments, and water. Three types of invertebrate samples were analyzed for molluscs, odonates, and composite. Zn concentrations in odonates from ponds draining watersheds with commercial development (mean=113.82 ug/g) were significantly higher than concentrations in the other land-use categories. Similarly, Cu levels in odonates from commercial ponds (mean=27.12 ug/g) were significantly higher than from highway (mean=20.23 ug/g) and open space (mean=17.79 ug/g) ponds. However, metal concentrations in sediments and water did not differ significantly among land-uses. The results suggest that despite the high variation in ambient metal concentrations within each land-use category, macroinvertebrates in ponds serving commercial watersheds accumulate higher levels of Cu and Zn. The levels of Cu, Zn, and Pb in invertebrates from all ponds were less than dietary concentrations considered toxic to fish.
Additional publication details
Relationships between ambient geochemistry, watershed land-use and trace metal concentrations in aquatic invertebrates living in stormwater treatment ponds