The influence of land-based activities on contaminants in riverine systems
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River water throughout Georgia was analyzed for organic contaminants including organochlorine (OC) chemicals (OC pesticides and polychlorinated biphenyls) and perfluorinated compounds (PFCs) over two years during low and high stream-flow periods. Concentrations for OC chemicals and PFCs ranged from 0 – 114 ng/L and 0 – 47 ng/L, respectively. Chemical concentrations were related to land-use and environmental variables with hierarchical linear models. Urban land cover influenced PFC concentrations in the river while agricultural land-use influenced OC chemical concentrations in the river water. Samples near an urban area or with a high percentage of urban in the riparian area of the stream had higher concentrations of PFCs. Run-off from row crop agricultural fields was a strong source for legacy-use OC chemicals as OC concentrations increased in the water column with an increase in turbidity and river discharge in areas with a high percentage of row crop agriculture within riparian area of the stream.