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Offshore transport of pesticides in the South Atlantic Bight: Preliminary estimate of export budgets.

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Henry A. Alegria

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Surface waters of the inner shelf (coast to 20-m isobath) of the South Atlantic Bight (SAB) were sampled in July 1994 and August 1995 for pesticides currently used in the south-eastern United States to estimate offshore transport. Only atrazine was detected at all stations in 1994 and 1995 and simazine was detected at all stations in 1995. Atrazine levels were 5.60-12 ng/l in July 1994 and 3.1-11 ng/l in August 1995 and simazine levels were 0.8-4.6 ng/l in August 1995. We calculated reservoir masses (in inner shelf waters) of 550 kg atrazine in July 1994, and 325 kg atrazine and 180 kg simazine in August 1995. Using these reservoir masses and a previously estimated residence time for waters of the inner shelf of 30 days, annual export budgets were calculated. For 1994, a budget of 6600 kg atrazine was calculated. For 1995, budgets of 3900 kg atrazine and 2150 kg simazine were calculated. Yearly riverine discharge to estuaries in the study region was estimated to range from 600 to 5600 kg atrazine and 100 to 550 kg simazine. The large budgets for the coastal inner shelf compared with yearly riverine discharge suggest that a significant fraction of atrazine and simazine applied in the region is being transported offshore from coastal waters. This transport pathway needs to be factored in when calculating mass balances and determining the ultimate fate of these pesticides.


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