Evaluation of Chemcatcher® passive samplers for pesticide monitoring using high-frequency catchment scale data

Passive samplers (PS) have been proposed as an enhanced water quality monitoring solution in rivers, but their performance against high-frequency data over the longer term has not been widely explored. This study compared the performance of Chemcatcher® passive sampling (PS) devices with high-frequency sampling (HFS: 7-hourly to daily) in two dynamic rivers over 16 months. The evaluation was based on the acid herbicides MCPA (2-methyl-4-chlorophenoxyacetic acid), mecoprop-P, fluroxypyr and triclopyr. The impact of river discharge parameters on Chemcatcher® device performance was also explored. Mixed effects modelling showed that time-weighted mean concentration (TWMC) and flow-weighted mean concentration (FWMC) values obtained by the HFS approach were both significantly higher (p < 0.001) than TWMC values determined from PS regardless of river or pesticide. Modelling also showed that TWMCPS values were more similar to TWMCHFS than FWMCHFS values. However, further testing revealed that MCPA TWMC values from HFS and PS were not significantly different (p > 0.05). There was little indication that river flow parameters altered PS performance—some minor effects were not significant or consistent. Despite this, the PS recovery of very low concentrations indicated that Chemcatcher® devices may be used to evaluate the presence/absence and magnitude of acid herbicides in hydrologically dynamic rivers in synoptic type surveys where space and time coverage is required. However, a period of calibration of the devices in each river would be necessary if they were intended to provide a quantitative review of pesticide concentration as compared with HFS approaches.
Publication history: Accepted - 13 September 2022; Published online - 30 September 2022
Chemcatchers®, Passive sampling, High frequency sampling, Acid herbicides, Water quality monitoring, Catchment-scale
Farrow, L.G., Morton, P.A., Cassidy, R., Floyd, S., McRoberts, W.C., Doody, D.G. and Jordan, P. (2022) ‘Evaluation of Chemcatcher® passive samplers for pesticide monitoring using high-frequency catchment scale data’, Journal of Environmental Management. Elsevier BV. Available at: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jenvman.2022.116292.