Risk assessment of representative and priority pesticides, in surface water of the Alqueva reservoir (South of Portugal) using on-line solid phase extraction-liquid chromatography-tandem mass spectrometry.Environ Int. 2009 Apr; 35(3):545-51.EI
Surface waters located in intensive agricultural areas are more vulnerable to the pesticides contamination, which is a major concern if the water is intended to be used for human consumption. The aim of this study was to evaluate the presence and the distribution of pesticides in the Alqueva reservoir, an important source of water supply (South of Portugal), considering their representativeness in the agricultural practice of the area. For the analysis of pesticides risk impact we used the environmental quality standards in the field of water policy proposed recently by the European Commission. The pesticides belonging to the classes of phenylureas, triazines, chloroacetanilides, organophosphorous and thiocarbamates were analysed by on-line solid phase extraction-liquid chromatography-tandem mass spectrometry. The pesticides more frequently detected were atrazine, simazine, diuron and terbuthylazine. The highest levels of these pesticides were registered in spring, after pesticides treatment, namely in olive-tree and vine crops. The priority pesticides atrazine and diuron reached values above the annual average proposed in the European Union Legislation. The herbicide atrazine reached values that surpassed the proposed maximum allowable concentration (2,000 ng L(-1)). The sampling stations most affected by these pesticides were Sra. Ajuda, Lucefecit and Alcarrache, located in the northern part of the reservoir, closer to Spain where the agricultural activity is more intensive.