Ecology, Climate Change and Related News

Conservation Science for a Healthy Planet

Presence, persistence of estrogens in vernal pools an emerging concern

Leave a Comment

February 13, 2018 Penn State read full ScienceDaily article

Estrogens in treated wastewater that find their way into temporary wetlands known as vernal pools persist for weeks or even months, according to researchers, who suggest that persistence may have implications for these critical aquatic habitats.

…In the highly oxygenated water of streams and rivers, estrogens break down relatively quickly. But this study demonstrated, for the first time, that in the dissolved-oxygen-depleted water of vernal pools the estrogens persist and even transform into parent compounds….

….the planned, beneficial re-use of water has become an increasingly common conservation practice worldwide, sparking questions about the degree of water treatment needed to mitigate negative environmental impacts.

Sewage treatment plants are not designed with the capability to remove hormones or other emerging contaminants, and there are currently no water standards for these contaminants. Low concentrations of pharmaceuticals, personal hygiene products and pesticides in waters — just to name a few — are known to be causing reproductive abnormalities in fish and other aquatic organisms. When wastewater is reused for irrigation activities, some environmental tradeoffs are likely occurring….

Odette Mina, Heather E. Gall, Herschel A. Elliott, John E. Watson, Michael L. Mashtare, Tracy Langkilde, Jeremy P. Harper, Elizabeth W. Boyer. Estrogen occurrence and persistence in vernal pools impacted by wastewater irrigation practices. Agriculture, Ecosystems & Environment, 2018; 257: 103 DOI: 10.1016/j.agee.2018.01.022

View all articles

Comments are closed