Submarine groundwater discharge: A previously undocumented source of contaminants of emerging concern to the coastal ocean (Sydney, Australia)

Last modified: 
August 10, 2020 - 3:45pm
Type: Journal Article
Year of publication: 2020
Date published: 11/2020
Authors: Trista McKenzie, Ceylena Holloway, Henrietta Dulai, James Tucker, Ryo Sugimoto, Toshimi Nakajima, Kana Harada, Isaac Santos
Journal title: Marine Pollution Bulletin
Volume: 160
Pages: 111519
ISSN: 0025326X

Submarine groundwater discharge (SGD) is rarely considered as a pathway for contaminants of emerging concern (CECs). Here, we investigated SGD as a source of CECs in Sydney Harbour, Australia. CEC detection frequencies based on presence/absence of a specific compound were >90% for caffeine, carbamazepine, and dioxins, and overall ranged from 25 to 100% in five studied embayments. SGD rates estimated from radium isotopes explained >80% of observed CEC inventories for one or more compounds (caffeine, carbamazepine, dioxins, sulfamethoxazole, fluoroquinolones and ibuprofen) in four out of the five embayments. Radium-derived residence times imply mixing is also an important process for driving coastal inventories of these persistent chemicals. Two compounds (ibuprofen and dioxins) were in concentrations deemed a high risk to the ecosystem. Overall, we demonstrate that SGD can act as a vector for CECs negatively impacting coastal water quality.

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