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Monitoring the complex occurrence of pesticides in the Llobregat basin, natural and drinking waters in Barcelona metropolitan area (Catalonia, NE Spain) by a validated multi-residue online analytical method

Quintana, Jordi, de la Cal, Agustina, Boleda, M. Rosa
The Science of the total environment 2019 v.692 pp. 952-965
European Union, aquifers, basins, bentazon, business enterprises, carbendazim, deet, diuron, drinking water, hazard characterization, imidacloprid, isoproturon, laws and regulations, metazachlor, methomyl, metropolitan areas, monitoring, multiresidue analysis, propiconazole, rivers, simazine, tebuconazole, terbutryn, uncertainty, Spain
The European Directive 98/83/CE legislates the presence of pesticides in drinking water, but apart from a few compounds, nothing is said about which pesticides should be monitored. Nevertheless, water companies need to go beyond the accomplishment of the legislation and find out pesticide contamination in all sources of water in order to manage the hazard assessment, and to guarantee safe drinking water to all the population.The aim of this work was to develop an analytical multi-residue method for circa 100 compounds. The method analyses previously monitored compounds in Barcelona city and its metropolitan area, as well as many emerging pesticides and some transformation products.An on-line sample extraction (0.75 mL) coupled to fast UHPLC-MS/MS method was developed. Good linearity (r2 > 0.995, with less residuals than 15%), accuracies and precisions under 25%, and acceptable expanded uncertainties were obtained for most of the monitored compounds, according to ISO/IEC 17025, obtaining limits of quantification between 5 and 25 ng/L for all compounds.A monitoring campaign on natural and treated waters in the Barcelona metropolitan area was carried out during 2016–2017. Results showed that pesticide contamination at the low stretch of Llobregat River and in its aquifer is severe. The maximum concentrations were in the range of few μg/L for carbendazim, DEET, diuron and propiconazole, and in the range 0.1–0.5 μg/L for bentazone, imidacloprid, isoproturon, simazine, metazachlor, methomyl, terbutryn and tebuconazole. However, the efficiency of advanced treatments in the DWTPs involved in drinking water production in the Barcelona metropolitan area allows the complete removal of pesticides and a safe water production for consumers.The method shows a good analytical performance for most compounds with a fast sample preparation and analysis. In addition, it has updated the knowledge about the occurrence of pesticides in the Barcelona city area.