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Trace elements and organic chemicals in stream-bottom sediments and fish tissues, Red River of the North basin, Minnesota, North Dakota, and South Dakota, 1992-95

Water-Resources Investigations Report 97-4043

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Abstract

Stream-bottom sediment and fish-tissue samples from the Red River of the North Basin, were analyzed for a large suite of chemical elements and organic chemicals. Cadmium, lead, and mercury were widespread in sediments, at concentrations not indicative of acute contamination. Mercury, the element of greatest health concern in the region, was detected at low concentrations in 38 of 43 sediment samples (<0.02-0.13 micrograms per gram) and all of eleven fish-liver samples (0.03-0.6 micrograms per gram dry weight, or 0.0066-0.13 micrograms per gram wet weight). Concentrations of many elements appeared to be controlled by mineral rather than anthropogenic sources. DDT and its metabolites were the most frequently detected synthetic organochlorines: p,p'-DDE was detected in 9 of 38 sediment samples (concentration range: <1-16 nanograms per gram) and also frequently in whole-fish samples. Total DDT (the sum of DDT and its metabolites) concentrations ranged from <5 to 217 nanograms per gram, and at least one component of total DDT was detected in 19 of 23 fish samples. Concentrations of DDT and its metabolites in stream sediments were significantly higher in the intensively cropped Red River Valley Lake Plain, compared to upland areas, probably because of greater historical DDT usage in the lake plain. Several polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons were detected in stream-bottom sediments. Although the potentially toxic chemicals measured in this study were at low levels, relative to more contaminated areas of the Nation, maximum concentrations of some chemicals are of concern because of their possible effects on aquatic biota and human health.

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Additional publication details

Publication type:
Report
Publication Subtype:
USGS Numbered Series
Title:
Trace elements and organic chemicals in stream-bottom sediments and fish tissues, Red River of the North basin, Minnesota, North Dakota, and South Dakota, 1992-95
Series title:
Water-Resources Investigations Report
Series number:
97-4043
Year Published:
1998
Language:
English
Publisher:
U.S. Geological Survey
Publisher location:
Mounds View, MN
Contributing office(s):
Minnesota Water Science Center
Description:
vi, 32 p.
Country:
United States
State:
Minnesota, North Dakota, South Dakota
Other Geospatial:
Red River of the North Basin
Online Only (Y/N):
N
Additional Online Files (Y/N):
N