Land use was analyzed for the drainage areas of 26 stream sites in Chester County, Pa., that cover a total area of 227 square miles or about 30 percent of the country. The most significant land-use changes during 1967-87 were decreased agricultural land use, increased residential land use, and increased commercial and industrial land use.
Bulk samples of stream-bottom materials were collected at 42 sites in the study area from October 1985 through November 1987 and analyzed for content of organochlorine pesticides and polychlorinated biphenyls (PCB's). Organochlorine compounds and (or) PCB's were detected in streambed materials collected at 40 of the 42 sites sampled. The most enriched compounds (greater than 15 micrograms per kilogram) were PCB's, chlordane, and DDT plus its breakdown products. Data suggest that chlordane residues are closely associated with residential land use. PCB residues are closely associated with industrial and commercial land use.
Cores of labeled sediments from the site of Icedale Lake, a drained reservoir on the West Branch Brandywine Creek, indicate that DDT was the first organochlorine pesticide to enter the Brandywine Creek; concentrations peaked in the late 1940's and early 1950's. As DDT influx subsequently decreased, influxes of chlordane and dieldrin increased and peaked in the mind-1960's, before the Chester County biological monitoring program. Influx of all pesticides appears to have decreased significantly since the 1960's.
Contingency analyses showed that the relation between the Kendall slope estimator for trend and the increases in residential land use of 12 percent or greater were significant at the 95-percent confidence level. The contingency tables also showed that the relation between diversity indices of less than 2.25 and organochlorine-compound concentrations greater than 45 micrograms per kilogram was significant at the 95-percent confidence level.
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USGS Numbered Series
Land use, organochlorine compound concentrations, and trends in benthic-invertebrate communities in selected stream basins in Chester County, Pennsylvania