Temporal pattern in imidacloprid levels in an urban stream in southern California

Imidacloprid is a widely used insecticide with high runoff potential posing a significant threat to aquatic ecosystems. In order to determine the spatial and temporal concentrations of imidacloprid in Forester Creek, a tributary to the San Diego River, surface water samples were collected from two sites under wet-weather and dry-weather conditions. Imidacloprid was detected with 100% frequency in surface water samples from Forester Creek with a median concentration of 16.9 ng/L (range: 3.8–96.8 ng/L). Over 60% of samples exceeded U.S. EPA's chronic exposure benchmark (10 ng/L). Temporal analysis displayed significantly higher levels in wet-weather than dry-weather (median 45.6 ng/L vs. 8.2 ng/L (p < 0.05)), demonstrating the influence of wet-weather runoff on stream quality. Imidacloprid generally followed a first flush pattern, further indicating that the build-up and wash off from land surfaces during storms is a major source of imidacloprid into urban surface waters. To our knowledge, the present study is the first to document this first flush pattern for imidacloprid in an urban stream in southern California.

Christine M. Batikian et al. Chemosphere. Available online 2 February 2019
In Press, Accepted Manuscript