Distribution, Toxic Potential, and Influence of Land Use on Conventional and Emerging Contaminants in Urban Stormwater Pond Sediments

  • Judy L. CraneEmail author


This study examined the distribution and toxic potential of conventional and emerging contaminants in composite sediment samples from 15 stormwater ponds in the Minneapolis–St. Paul, MN metropolitan area. Previously, coal tar-based sealants were shown to be a major source of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons to these ponds, and concentrations of carcinogenic benzo[a]pyrene (B[a]P) equivalents were influencing management options about pond maintenance. For the second component of this study, a complex mixture of 13 metal(loid)s, 4-nonylphenols, 8 brominated diphenyl ethers (BDEs), and total polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDEs) were detected in all surficial samples. Contaminants with detection frequencies ≥ 20% included: silver (46.7%), beryllium (20.0%), chloride (60.0%), bis(2-ethylhexyl)phthalate (60.0%), 10 per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFASs; 26.7–80.0%), 4-nonylphenol monoethoxylate (66.7%), 4-nonylphenol diethoxylate (40.0%), bifenthrin (20.0%), total permethrins (33.3%), and 24 other BDE congener groups (20.0–93.3%). Five stormwater ponds had contaminants exceeding benchmarks likely to be associated with harmful effects to benthic organisms. Ponds with watersheds dominated by either commercial and/or industrial land uses had significantly higher (p < 0.05) concentrations of zinc, 4-nonylphenol, six BDEs (28 + 33, 47, 99, 100, 154, and 209), and total PBDEs than those dominated by residential land uses. Multivariate statistical analyses verified that updated B[a]P equivalents were an effective chemical proxy for making management decisions about excavated pond sediment. Jurisdictions that do not test their stormwater pond sediments prior to maintenance dredging should consider the environmental ramifications of applying this potentially contaminated material to land.



Analysis of variance




Alkylphenol ethoxylates


American Society for Testing and Materials




Brominated diphenyl ether


Brominated flame retardants


Best management practice






Contaminants of emerging concern


Carcinogenic polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons


Coal tar-based sealant






Endocrine-disrupting compounds


Environmental Protection Agency


Equilibrium Partitioning Sediment Benchmark


Electronic supplementary material


Gas chromatography






Hierarchical cluster analysis


High resolution gas chromatography/low-resolution mass spectrometry


High resolution mass spectrometer


Interim sediment quality guidelines


Octanol-water partition coefficient


Liquid chromatography


Median lethal concentration


Likely effect benchmark


Natural log


Metropolitan Mosquito Control District




Minnesota Pollution Control Agency


Mass spectrometry or spectrometer


Municipal Separate Storm Sewer System






Nonylphenol ethoxylates


4-Nonylphenol monoethoxylate


4-Nonylphenol diethoxylate


Organic carbon




Phthalate esters


Polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbon


Polybrominated diphenyl ether




Principal component


Principal components analysis


Polychlorinated biphenyls


Probable effect concentration


Probable effect concentration quotients


Per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances




Perfluorobutane sulfonate












Perfluorohexane sulfonate




Perfluorooctanoic acid or perfluorooctanoate


Perfluorooctane sulfonate


Perfluorooctane sulfonamide






Quality assurance/quality control


Standard deviation


Sediment quality target


Soil reference value


Semivolatile organic compounds






Threshold effect benchmark


Toxic equivalent


Total organic carbon


Toxic unit




United States Environmental Protection Agency


United States Geological Survey


The 95% upper tolerance limit with 95% coverage


Wastewater treatment plant



Staff from ten Minnesota cities proposed stormwater pond monitoring sites and provided ancillary data. Field work assistance was provided by the following MPCA staff: Harold Wiegner, Alexander Levchuk, Steven Hennes, Mike Walerak, Mike Anderson, Mary Jean Fenske, Dale Thompson, Anna Kerr, Louise Hotka, and Steven Weiss. Other MPCA assistance was provided by William Scruton (QA/QC), Kris Parson and Shawn Nelson (GIS maps), and Bonnie Brooks (SRV applications). Sections of the manuscript were reviewed internally by Bill Cole, David Fairbairn, and Mike Trojan (MPCA). Angie Whetung coordinated the analytical work at AXYS Analytical Services Ltd. for all CECs, Diane Anderson (Pace Analytical Services Inc.) did so for SVOCs, and Jeff Brenner (Minnesota Department of Health) managed the analysis of metal(loid)s and chloride. The anonymous reviewer comments were very helpful and appreciated. This project was funded by Minnesota Legislature House File 1231.

Supplementary material

244_2019_598_MOESM1_ESM.pdf (2.1 mb)
Supplementary material 1 (PDF 2102 kb)


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© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Minnesota Pollution Control AgencySt. PaulUSA

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