Water Resources Research Act Program

Details for Project ID 2018DC195B

Inorganic geochemistry and endocrine disrupters in urban streams: quantifying links between development patterns and water chemistry

Institute: District of Columbia
Year Established: 2018 Start Date: 2018-03-01 End Date: 2019-02-28
Total Federal Funds: $10,000 Total Non-Federal Funds: $20,106

Principal Investigators: Stephen MacAvoy

Abstract: The Anacostia River is a major waterway, encompassing 440 km2, located in Washington, D.C. It is also one of the nations 10 most contaminated rivers, containing sewage, metals, polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAH), and polychlorinated biphenyls (PCB), and has been cited by the EPA as a "major area of concern" for the Chesapeake region (Maa 2008). In addition to contaminants, excess nutrients have also become a problem in the Anacostia and other urban streams. The Washington DC government has also adopted a policy to make the Anacostia "fishable and swimmable by 2032 (Hawkins 2008). Part of this effort will require a better understanding of how urban landscapes alter both the fundamental chemistry of the Anacostia, and which sections of the river contain important (but under studied) endocrine disrupting chemicals. Mounting evidence suggests that urban infrastructure (i.e. concrete) is increasing the ionic strength of urban rivers (making them saltier), which could stress aquatic life (Connor et al. 2014). However, it is possible that increasing "green space" or creating "green infrastructure" could help mitigate the chemical changes. Such changes could also reduce the presence of potentially harmful organic compounds such as endocrine disrupters. Using organic and inorganic geochemical tools I propose to quantify the relationship between land use and water chemistry in the Anacostia. I also will examine 6 areas of the river for organic contaminants, including endocrine disrupters, to test for associations with sewage outflow areas and land use patterns.