Berens et al., 2020

Berens, Matthew B., Capel, Paul D., & Arnold, William A.; “Neonicotinoid Insecticides in Surface Water, Groundwater, and Wastewater across Land Use Gradients and Potential Effects;” Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry, 2020, In Press; DOI: 10.1002/etc.4959.


Neonicotinoid insecticides cause adverse effects on non-target organisms, but more information about their occurrence in surface and groundwater is needed across a range of land use. Sixty-five sites in Minnesota U.S., representing rivers, streams, lakes, groundwater, and treated wastewater, were monitored via collection of 157 water samples to determine variability in spatiotemporal neonicotinoid concentrations. The data were used to assess relations to land use, hydrogeologic condition, and potential effects on aquatic life. Results showed total neonicotinoid concentrations were highest in agricultural watersheds (median=12 ng/L) followed by urban (2.9 ng/L) and undeveloped watersheds (1.9 ng/L). Clothianidin was most frequently detected in agricultural areas (detection frequency = 100%) and imidacloprid most often in urban waters (detection frequency = 97%). The seasonal trend of neonicotinoid concentrations in rivers, streams, and lakes showed that their highest concentrations coincided with spring planting and elevated streamflow. Consistently low neonicotinoid concentrations were found in shallow groundwater in agricultural regions (<1.2-16 ng/L, median = 1.4 ng/L). Treated municipal wastewater had the highest concentrations across all hydrologic compartments (12-48 ng/L, median = 19 ng/L), but neonicotinoid loads from rivers and streams (median = 4100 mg/d) were greater than in treated wastewater (700 mg/d). No samples exceeded acute aquatic-life benchmarks for individual neonicotinoids, whereas 10% of samples exceeded a chronic benchmark for neonicotinoid mixtures. Although 62% of samples contained two or more neonicotinoids, the observed concentrations suggest there were low acute and potential chronic risks to aquatic life. This the first study of its size in Minnesota and is critical to better understanding the drivers of widescale environmental contamination by neonicotinoids where urban, agricultural, and undeveloped lands are present. FULL TEXT