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Organochlorine Pesticides and PCBs in Stream Sediment and Aquatic Biota--Initial Results from the National Water-Quality Assessment Program, 1992-1995

By Charles S. Wong, Paul D. Capel, and Lisa H. Nowell

U.S. GEOLOGICAL SURVEY
Water-Reources Investigations Report 00-4053

Sacramento, CA
2000


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CONTENTS
Abstract 	
Introduction
Study Design and Methods
	Site Selection 
	Sample Collection Methods
	Chemical Analysis
	Land-Use Classifications
	Database Decisions
National Overview
	Statistical Summary
	Geographic Distribution of Selected Analytes
		Dieldrin 
		Total Chlordane
		Total DDT
		Total PCBs
	Relations Among Sampling Media
	Sediment Versus Fish
	Fish Versus Bivalves
	Effects of Reporting Limit Censoring on the Frequency of Detection
Effect of Land Use on Organochlorine Concentrations
	Geographic Distribution of Land-Use Categories
	Occurrence and Distribution of Selected Analytes in Land-Use Categories
		Integrator Sites
		Background Sites
		Pasture and Rangeland Sites
		Cropland Sites
		Urban Sites
	Statistical Comparison of Concentration Distributions by Land Use
		Sediment
		Fish
		Bivalves
	Effect of Basin Size on Occurrence and Distribution of Selected Analytes
Long-Term Trends
	Bed Sediment Studies
	Aquatic Biota Studies
	Trends Assessment-Whole Fish
		Dieldrin
		Total Chlordane 
		Total DDT 
		 PCBs
Significance to Ecosystems and Human Health 
	Aquatic Organisms and Wildlife
		Sediment-Quality Guidelines for Protection of Aquatic Life
		Guidelines for Protection of Fish-Eating Wildlife 
	Human Health 
	Other Toxicity Concerns 
		Effects of Chemical Mixtures 
		Developmental and Reproductive Effects 
Summary
References Cited

FIGURES
	1.	Map of the first 20 National Water-Quality Assessment Program study units, showing bed sediment 
		 sampling sites 
	2.	Map of the first 20 National Water-Quality Assessment program study units, showing sampling sites
		 for fish and bivalves
	3.	Detection frequencies of target analytes in sediment, fish, and bivalves
	4.	Concentration distribution of the four principal compounds or compound groups in sediment, 
		 fish, and bivalves 
	5.	Concentration distribution of p,p“-DDT and metabolites in sediment, fish, and bivalves
	6.	Concentration distribution of chlordane components in sediment, fish, and bivalves
	7.	Geographic distribution of dieldrin in sediment samples 
	8.	Geographic distribution of dieldrin in fish samples
	9.	Geographic distribution of dieldrin in bivalve samples
	10.	Geographic distribution of total chlordane in sediment samples
	11.	Geographic distribution of total chlordane in fish samples
	12.	Geographic distribution of total chlordane in bivalve samples
	13.	Geographic distribution of total DDT in sediment samples 
	14.	Geographic distribution of total DDT in fish samples
	15.	Geographic distribution of total DDT in bivalve samples
	16.	Geographic distribution of total PCBs in sediment samples
	17.	Geographic distribution of total PCBs in fish samples 
	18.	Geographic distribution of total PCBs in bivalve samples
	19.	Relation between the concentrations of organochlorine analytes in paired sediment­fish samples
	20.	Relation between the concentrations of organochlorine analytes in paired bivalve­fish samples
	21.	Map of sediment and biota sampling sites by land-use classification
	22.	Detection frequencies of target analytes in sediment, fish, and bivalves by land-use classification
	23.	Cumulative distribution of total dieldrin concentrations, by land-use classification, in sediment, 
		 fish, and bivalves
	24.	Cumulative distribution of total chlordane concentrations, by land-use classification, in 
		 sediment, fish, and bivalves	
	25.	Cumulative distribution of total DDT concentrations, by land-use classification, in 		
		 sediment, fish, and bivalves.
	26.	Cumulative distribution of total PCB concentrations, by land-use classification, in 
		 sediment, fish, and bivalves
	27.	Detection frequencies of target analytes in sediment, fish, and bivalves for land-use/basin-size groupings
	28.	Temporal trends in dieldrin concentrations in whole fish
	29.	Temporal trends in total chlordane concentrations in whole fish
	30.	Temporal trends in total DDT concentrations in whole fish
	31.	Temporal trends in total PCB concentrations in whole fish
	32.	Comparison of dieldrin in sediment with sediment-quality guidelines for aquatic life
	33.	Comparison of total chlordane in sediment with sediment-quality guidelines for aquatic life
	34.	Comparison of total DDT in sediment with sediment-quality guidelines for aquatic life
	35.	Comparison of total PCBs in sediment with sediment-quality guidelines for aquatic life
	36.	Comparison of total DDT in whole fish with edible-fish consumption standards and guidelines for 
		human health and whole-fish consumption guidelines for fish-eating wildlife
TABLES
	1.	National Water-Quality Assessment Program study units sampled during 1992­1995
	2.	Taxonomic species sampled by the National Water-Quality Assessment Program during 1992­1995
	3.	Target analytes measured in bed sediment or aquatic biota by the National Water-Quality Assessment
		 Program during 1992­1995
	4.	Statistical summary of organochlorine concentrations in sediment, 1992­1995
	5.	Statistical summary of organochlorine concentrations in fish, 1992­1995
	6.	Statistical summary of organochlorine concentrations in bivalves, 1992­1995	
	7.	Mean percent composition of selected chlordane constituents and metabolites in technical chlordane and in
	 	 sediment and aquatic biota from the National Water-Quality Assessment Program, 1992­1995 
	8.	Mean percent composition of o,p¢- and p,p¢-DDT and their primary metabolites in technical 
		 DDT and in sediment and aquatic biota from the National Water-Quality Assessment Program, 1992­1995
	9.	Coefficients of determination for linear regressions between concentrations in paired 
		 sediment­fish samples
	10.	Detection frequencies in sediment, 1992­1995, at censoring levels from 1 to 5 mg/kg dry weight
	11.	Detection frequencies in sediment, 1992­1995, at censoring levels from 1 to 200 mg/kg dry weight
	12.	Detection frequencies in whole fish, 1992­1995, at censoring levels from 5 to 200 mg/kg wet weight
	13.	ANOVA of concentration distribution ranks of dieldrin, total chlordane, total DDT, and 
		 total PCBs among land-use classifications for sediment, fish, and bivalves, including 
		 Kruskal­Wallis mean scores and Tukey­Kramer multiple comparison tests
	14.	ANOVA of concentration distribution ranks of dieldrin, total chlordane, total DDT, and total 
		 PCBs among land-use/basin-size classifications for sediment, fish, and bivalves, including 
		 Kruskal­Wallis mean scores and Tukey­Kramer multiple comparison tests
	15.	Sediment-quality guidelines for organochlorine compounds in sediment
	16.	Comparison of organochlorine concentrations in sediment with sediment-quality guidelines
	17.	Potential adverse effects on aquatic life at National Water-Quality Assessment Program 
		 sediment sites compared with sites in EPA National Sediment Inventory
	18.	Comparison of organochlorine concentrations in whole fish with guidelines for protection of 
		 fish-eating wildlife
	19.	Comparison of organochlorine concentrations in whole fish with edible-fish guidelines for 
		 protection of human health
		 
		 

Abstract

One of the goals of the National Water-Quality Assessment (NAWQA) Program of the U.S. Geological Survey is to assess the status and trends in the nation's water quality and to understand the natural and anthropogenic factors that affect water-quality conditions. This report summarizes the occurrence and distribution of 33 organochlorine compounds in fluvial bed sediment and aquatic biota (whole freshwater fish and freshwater bivalves) sampled by NAWQA investigations between 1991 and 1994. These include historically used insecticides (DDT and metabolites, chlordane and its various components, and dieldrin), some currently used pesticides (permethrin and dacthal) and some industrial chemicals and byproducts (PCBs and hexacloro- benzene). Samples were collected at approximately 500 sites in 19 large hydrologic basins throughout the United States. Contaminant levels in bed sediment and aquatic biota are summarized, first on a national basis, and then by land-use classification (for example, urban, cropland, pasture and rangeland, and forest). Nationally, detection frequencies are highest in sediment and biota for the more persistent organochlorine compounds: total DDT, total chlordane, dieldrin, and total PCBs. Organochlorine compounds were detected more frequently in whole fish than in bivalves or bed sediment. Organochlorine pesticide concentrations were relatively high in agricultural regions with histories of high use. The highest organochlorine compound concentrations in both sediment and biota generally were associated with urban areas. Some organochlorine concentrations in sediment exceeded guidelines for the protection of aquatic organisms. A screening-level comparison of measured organochlorine concentrations in whole fish was made with human health guidelines that are applicable to edible fish. This comparison indicates stream sites at which additional sampling of game fish fillets may be warranted, depending on local patterns of fish consumption. A comparison of current national contaminant levels with previous studies of this scope suggests a gradual decrease in organochlorine contaminant levels, at least in fish.

For additional information Copies of this report can be write to: purcahsed from: Chief, PNSP, NAWQA U.S. Geological Survey U.S. Geological Survey Information Service Placer Hall, Suite 2012 Box 25286 6000 J Street Federal Center Sacramento, CA 95819 Denver, CO 80225

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