Spatial and temporal regulation of the pesticide dieldrin within industrial catchments

A A Meharg, J Wright, G J L Leeks, P Wass, D Osborn

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

8 Citations (Scopus)


The river catchments of south Yorkshire support a very high density of wool processing industries. Dieldrin was once used as a moth proofing agent, as a sheep dip, and as a pesticide to protect wool fleeces during storage and transport, all of which caused pollution of these catchments due to textile processing. Weekly sampling of four of these rivers revealed two-classes of dieldrin contamination: the Aire and Calder (the rivers which support very high concentrations of wool processing industries) had higher concentrations (averaging similar to 3 ng/l) than the Don and Trent (similar to 1 ng/l). The average flux of dieldrin from these rivers into the Humber estuary was 9.8 g/day, with the Aire (of which the Calder is a tributary) and the Trent contributing almost equally, with a smaller contribution from the Don. The Trent has the highest average flow, explaining its large contribution to dieldrin flux. Less detailed sampling of rivers from the north Humber catchment which drain predominantly rural areas had dieldrin concentrations similar to the heavily industrialized southern catchment rivers. This suggests that dieldrin from agronomic and domestic usage may be more persistent than the pollution caused by textile processing industries. Evidence is presented to suggest that the principle dieldrin sources to the Humber catchments are sewage treatment plants, and that the dieldrin sources are in rapid equilibrium with the water column. (C) 2000 Elsevier Science B.V. All rights reserved.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)255-263
Number of pages9
JournalScience of the Total Environment
Publication statusPublished - 2000


  • Aire
  • Calder
  • dieldrin
  • Don
  • Humber
  • Trent


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