Occurrence and distribution of benzothiazole in the Schwarzbach watershed (Germany)
This study quantifies the regional distribution of the micropollutant benzothiazole (BT) in river water by sampling 15 river sites in the Schwarzbach watershed (about 400 km2) from November 2008 to February 2010. Additionally, wastewater samples from three municipal wastewater treatment plants (WWTPs) in Germany were analyzed. BT was detected in all wastewater influent and effluent samples as well as in all river water samples collected downstream of wastewater discharge. This corroborates the ubiquitous occurrence of BT in the aqueous environment. Concentrations were between 58 and 856 ng L-1 in the river water. The observed mean concentration at the outlet of the investigated catchment was 109 ng L-1. With only a few exceptions, temporal and spatial variations of BT concentrations in river water were low. Rather similar BT concentrations over a wide range of river discharge indicate that dilution along the mainstream is negligible and, thus, supports the hypothesis that paved surface runoff during rain events is an important BT source not only for wastewater influent but also for river water. This was supported by detecting the highest BT concentrations at sampling locations close to the dense highway network around the city of Frankfurt. Since BT was also detected in river water collected from locations that were clearly unaffected by wastewater effluent discharge, surface runoff must be considered as a diffuse source of BT in river water.