Occurrence of antibiotics in an agricultural watershed in south-central Idaho

Robert S. Dungan, Daniel D. Snow, David L. Bjorneberg

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

17 Scopus citations


The polar organic compound integrative sampler (POCIS) is a tool that has been effectively used to passively sample organic pollutants over long periods in aquatic environments. In this study, POCIS were used to investigate the spatial and temporal occurrence of 21 antibiotics in irrigation return flows and upstream sites of an intensively managed agricultural watershed in southcentral Idaho. The antibiotic metabolite, erythromycin-H2O, and the antibiotics monensin, oxytetracycline, sulfadimethoxine, sulfamethazine, sulfamethoxazole, trimethoprim, and tylosin were detected at frequencies ranging from 3.1 to 62.5%, with monensin having the highest rate of detection. The fact that monensin was the most frequently detected compound indicates that it is entering return flows in runoff from fields that had received livestock manure or wastewater. Antibiotics (except oxytetracycline, sulfamethazine, and tylosin) were also detected at an upstream site that consisted of diverted Snake River water and is the source of irrigation water for the watershed. Therefore, even cropped soils that are not treated with manure are still receiving low-level antibiotics during irrigation events. This study provides the first set of evidence that surface waters within this agricultural watershed contain antibiotic residues associated with veterinary and human uses.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1455-1461
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Environmental Quality
Issue number6
StatePublished - Nov 1 2017

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Environmental Engineering
  • Water Science and Technology
  • Waste Management and Disposal
  • Pollution
  • Management, Monitoring, Policy and Law


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