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Herbicides and trace metals in urban waters in Melbourne, Australia (2011-12): concentrations and potential impact

Version 2 2024-06-03, 06:57
Version 1 2017-02-02, 11:43
journal contribution
posted on 2024-06-03, 06:57 authored by M Allinson, P Zhang, A Bui, JH Myers, V Pettigrove, G Rose, Scott SalzmanScott Salzman, R Walters, G Allinson
Urban stormwater samples were collected from five aquatic systems in Melbourne, Australia, on six occasions between October 2011 and March 2012 and tested for 30 herbicides and 14 trace metals. Nineteen different herbicides were observed in one or more water samples from the five sites; chemicals observed at more than 40% of sites were simazine (100%), MCPA (83%), diuron (63%) and atrazine (53%). Using the toxicity unit (TU) concept to assess potential risk to aquatic ecosystems, none of the detected herbicides were considered to pose an individual, group or collective short-term risk to fish or zooplankton in the waters studied. However, 13 herbicides had TU values suggesting they might have posed an individual risk to primary producers at the time of sampling. Water quality guideline levels were exceeded on many occasions for Cd, Cu, Cr, Pb and Zn. Similarly, RQmedand RQmaxexceeded 1 for Cd, Cr, Cu, Mn, Ni, Pb, V and Zn. Almost all the metals screened exceeded a log10TU of -3 for every trophic level, suggesting that there may have been some impact on aquatic organisms in the studied waterbodies. Our data indicate that Melbourne's urban aquatic environments may be being impacted by approved domestic, industrial and sporting application of herbicides and that stormwater quality needs to be carefully assessed prior to reuse. Further research is required to understand the performance of different urban stormwater wetland designs in removing pesticides and trace metals. Applying the precautionary principle to herbicide regulation is important to ensure there is more research and assessment of the long-term 'performance' standard of all herbicides and throughout their 'life cycle'. Implementing such an approach will also ensure government, regulators, decision makers, researchers, policy makers and industry have the best possible information available to improve the management of chemicals, from manufacture to use.



Environmental science and pollution research






Berlin, Germany







Publication classification

C1 Refereed article in a scholarly journal

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2017, Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg