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ORGANOCHLORINE COMPOUNDS IN BED SEDIMENT AND FISH TISSUE IN THE SOUTH PLATTE RIVER BASIN, USA, 1992-1993*

National Water-Quality Assessment (NAWQA) Program
South Platte River Basin Study

by Cathy M. Tate and Janet S. Heiny1

ABSTRACT

Bed-sediment and fish-tissue samples were collected in the South Platte River Basin to determine the occurrence and distribution of organochlorine compounds in the basin. During August-November 1992 and August 1993, bed sediment (23 sites) and fish tissue (subset of 19 sites) were sampled and analyzed for 32 organochlorine compounds in bed sediment and 27 compounds in fish tissue. More types of organochlorine compounds were detected in fish tissue than in bed sediment. Total DDT, p,p'-DDE, o,p'-DDE, p,p'-DDD, total PCB, Dacthal®, dieldrin, cis-chlordane, cis-nonachlor, trans-nonachlor, and p,p'-DDT were detected in fish tissue at >25% of the sites; p,p'-DDE, total DDT, cis-chlordane, and trans-chlordane were detected in bed sediment at >25% of the sites. Organochlorine concentrations in bed sediment and fish tissue were related to land-use settings. Few organochlorine compounds were detected at minimally impacted sites located in rangeland, forest, and built-up land-use settings. Chlordane-related compounds and p,p'-methoxychlor in bed sediment and fish tissue, endrin in fish tissue, and endosulfan I in bed sediment were associated with urban and mixed (urban and agricultural) sites. Dacthal® in bed sediment and fish tissue was associated with agricultural sites. The compounds HCB, gamma-HCH, PCA, and toxaphene were detected only at mixed land-use sites. Although DDT and DDT-metabolites, dieldrin, and total PCB were detected in urban, mixed, and agricultural land-use settings, highest mean concentrations were detected at mixed land-use sites. Mixed land-use sites had the greatest number of organochlorine compounds detected in fish tissue, whereas urban and mixed sites had the greatest number of organochlorine compounds detected in bed sediment. Measuring concentrations of organochlorine compounds in bed sediment and fish tissue at the same site offers a more complete picture of the persistence of organochlorine compounds in the environment and their relation to land-use settings.

* The use of trade, product, industry, or firm names is for descriptive purposes only and does not imply endorsement by the U.S. Government.

1 U.S. Geological Survey, Box 25046, MS 415, Denver Federal Center, Lakewood, CO 80225

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