Pesticide occurrence and spatio-temporal variability in urban run-off across Australia

Megan A. Rippy, Ana Deletic, Jeff Black, Rupak Aryal, Jane Louise Lampard, Janet Yat Man Tang, David McCarthy, Peter Kolotelo, Jatinder Sidhu, Wolfgang Gernjak

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

41 Citations (Scopus)


Stormwater is a major driving factor of aquatic ecosystem degradation as well as one of the largest untapped urban freshwater resources. We present results from a long-term, multi-catchment study of urban stormwater pesticides across Australia that addresses this dichotomous identity (threat and resource), as well as dominant spatial and temporal patterns in stormwater pesticide composition. Of the 27 pesticides monitored, only 19 were detected in Australian stormwater, five of which (diuron, MCPA, 2,4-D, simazine, and triclopyr) were found in >50% of samples. Overall, stormwater pesticide concentrations were lower than reported in other countries (including the United States, Canada and Europe), and exceedances of public health and aquatic ecosystem standards were rare (10% of samples). Spatio-temporal patterns were investigated with principal component analysis. Although stormwater pesticide composition was relatively stable across seasons and years, it varied significantly by catchment. Common pesticide associations appear to reflect 1) user application of common registered formulations containing characteristic suites of active ingredients, and 2) pesticide fate properties (e.g., environmental mobility and persistence). Importantly, catchment-specific occurrence patterns provide opportunities for focusing treatment approaches or stormwater harvesting strategies.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)245-255
Number of pages11
JournalWater Research
Publication statusPublished - 15 May 2017


  • Alternative water source
  • Pesticide
  • Principal component analysis
  • Spatio-temporal pattern
  • Stormwater management
  • Urban runoff

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