Analysis of emerging organic contaminants in the Bay of Plenty

Dr Stewart led a collaborative project with BOPRC and Northcott Research Consultants to measure a suite of Emerging Organic Contaminants (EOCs) in sediment and in passive sampling devices (PSDs) at multiple sites across Tauranga Harbour. EOCs are natural or manufactured chemicals in household and personal care products, pharmaceuticals, and agrichemicals; their use and discharge is largely unregulated. EOCs are used daily by individuals and industries globally with substantial amounts released into the environment. The suite of EOCs measured in this study was based on the core suite recommended in a 2016 report previously prepared for Auckland, Greater Wellington and Canterbury Regional Councils. However, it was tailored to include those EOCs specific to ports (the antifouling agents diuron, isoproturon and linuron) and those that would be expected (from their physico-chemical properties) to accumulate in PSDs, e.g. PFAS, glyphosate.
This was the first catchment-wide study undertaken in New Zealand where EOCs were measured in both surface sediments and PSDs. Furthermore, bespoke PSDs (Molecularly Imprinted Polymers of MIPs) were used to capture specific contaminants (e.g. for glyphosate). We are not aware of these devices being used in New Zealand and they are also a relatively recent development internationally. A manuscript discussing the results is being prepared for publication in an international peer reviewed journal. The data has also been incorporated into BOPRC’s State of Environment report.

Passive samplers ready to be deployed