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Identifying non-point sources of endocrine active compounds and their biological impacts in freshwater lakes

January 1, 2014

Contaminants of emerging concern, particularly endocrine active compounds (EACs), have been identified as a threat to aquatic wildlife. However, little is known about the impact of EACs on lakes through groundwater from onsite wastewater treatment systems (OWTS). This study aims to identify specific contributions of OWTS to Sullivan Lake, Minnesota, USA. Lake hydrology, water chemistry, caged bluegill sunfish (Lepomis macrochirus), and larval fathead minnow (Pimephales promelas) exposures were used to assess whether EACs entered the lake through OWTS inflow and the resultant biological impact on fish. Study areas included two OWTS-influenced near-shore sites with native bluegill spawning habitats and two in-lake control sites without nearby EAC sources. Caged bluegill sunfish were analyzed for plasma vitellogenin concentrations, organosomatic indices, and histological pathologies. Surface and porewater was collected from each site and analyzed for EACs. Porewater was also collected for laboratory exposure of larval fathead minnow, before analysis of predator escape performance and gene expression profiles. Chemical analysis showed EACs present at low concentrations at each study site, whereas discrete variations were reported between sites and between summer and fall samplings. Body condition index and liver vacuolization of sunfish were found to differ among study sites as did gene expression in exposed larval fathead minnows. Interestingly, biological exposure data and water chemistry did not match. Therefore, although results highlight the potential impacts of seepage from OWTS, further investigation of mixture effects and life history factor as well as chemical fate is warranted.

Publication Year 2014
Title Identifying non-point sources of endocrine active compounds and their biological impacts in freshwater lakes
DOI 10.1007/s00244-014-0052-4
Authors Beth H. Baker, Dalma Martinovic-Weigelt, Mark L. Ferrey, Larry B. Barber, Jeffrey H. Writer, Donald O. Rosenberry, Richard L. Kiesling, James R. Lundy, Heiko L. Schoenfuss
Publication Type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Series Title Archives of Environmental Contamination and Toxicology
Index ID 70189671
Record Source USGS Publications Warehouse
USGS Organization Toxic Substances Hydrology Program; National Research Program - Central Branch