Occurrence, distribution and transport of pesticides into the Salton Sea Basin, California, 2001-2002





The Salton Sea is a hypersaline lake located in southeastern California. Concerns over the ecological impacts of sediment quality and potential human exposure to dust emissions from exposed lakebed sediments resulting from anticipated shrinking of shoreline led to a study of pesticide distribution and transport within the Salton Sea Basin, California, in 2001-2002. Three sampling stations-upriver, river mouth, and offshore-were established along each of the three major rivers that discharge into the Salton Sea. Large-volume water samples were collected for analysis of pesticides in water and suspended sediments at the nine sampling stations. Samples of the bottom sediment were also collected at each site for pesticide analysis. Sampling occurred in October 2001, March-April 2002, and October 2002, coinciding with the regional fall and spring peaks in pesticide use in the heavily agricultural watershed. Fourteen current-use pesticides were detected in water and the majority of dissolved concentrations ranged from the limits of detection to 151 ng/l. Diazinon, EPTC and malathion were detected at much higher concentrations (940-3,830 ng/l) at the New and Alamo River upriver and near-shore stations. Concentrations of carbaryl, dacthal, diazinon, and EPTC were higher in the two fall sampling periods, whereas concentrations of atrazine, carbofuran, and trifluralin were higher during the spring, which matched seasonal use patterns of these pesticides. Current-use pesticides were also detected on suspended and bed sediments in concentrations ranging from detection limits to 106 ng/g. Chlorpyrifos, dacthal, EPTC, trifluralin, and DDE were the most frequently detected pesticides on sediments from all three rivers. The number of detections and concentrations of suspended sediment-associated pesticides were often similar for the river upriver and near-shore sites, consistent with downstream transport of pesticides via suspended sediment. While detectable suspended sediment pesticide concentrations were more sporadic than detected aqueous concentrations, seasonal trends were similar to those for dissolved concentrations. Generally, the pesticides detected on suspended sediments were the same as those on the bed sediments, and concentrations were similar, especially at the Alamo River upriver site. With a few exceptions, pesticides were not detected in suspended or bed sediments from the off-shore sites. The partitioning of pesticides between water and sediment was not predictable from solely the physical-chemical properties of individual pesticide compounds, but appear to be a complicated function of the quantity of pesticide applied in the watershed, residence time of sediments in the water, and compound solubility and hydrophobicity. Sediment concentrations of most pesticides were found to be 100-1,000 times lower than the low-effects levels determined in human health risk assessment studies. However, maximum concentrations of chlorpyrifos on suspended sediments were approximately half the low-effects level, suggesting the need for further sediment characterization of lake sediments proximate to riverine inputs. ?? 2008 Springer Science+Business Media B.V.

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Occurrence, distribution and transport of pesticides into the Salton Sea Basin, California, 2001-2002
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