Fate of Neonicotinoid Pesticides during Wastewater and Wetland Treatment

Akash M. Sadaria, Samuel D. Supowit, Rolf Halden

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

1 Scopus citations


Occurrence and fate of six neonicotinoids (imidacloprid, clothianidin, acetamiprid, thiamethoxam, thiacloprid, and dinotefuran) and one degradate (acetamiprid-N-desmethyl) were studied in a United States municipal wastewater treatment plant (WWTP) and an engineered wetland downstream. Flow-weighted samples collected in a five-day monitoring campaign were analyzed by liquid chromatography tandem mass spectrometry (LC-MS/MS) using methods of isotope dilution and standard addition. Three of the six neonicotinoids were detected. Daily loads of imidacloprid and acetamiprid were stable, whereas those of clothianidin varied. Detected 5-day average concentrations in WWTP influent and effluent were 54.7 ± 9.3 and 48.6 ± 8.4 ng/L for imidacloprid, 3.7 ± 0.8 and 1.7 ± 0.5 ng/L for acetamiprid, and 149.7 ± 273.1 and 116.7 ± 144.9 ng/L for clothianidin, respectively. Concentrations of neonicotinoids in digested sludge were below the limit of detection (<2 μg/kg dry weight). Wetland monitoring revealed lack of removal for imidacloprid and acetamiprid. Hazard quotient (HQ) analysis showed values of larger than unity for imidacloprid (1.4 ± 0.1) and total neonicotinoids (4.8 ± 4.5) in WWTP effluent. Thus, imidacloprid, acetamiprid, and clothianidin were shown to occur in United States wastewater, persist during conventional and wetland treatment, and to pose potential risk in effluent-dominated, receiving surface waters.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationAssessing Transformation Products of Chemicals by Non-Target and Suspect Screening - Strategies and Workflows, Volume 1
EditorsJorg E. Drewes, Thomas Letzel
PublisherAmerican Chemical Society
Number of pages11
ISBN (Electronic)9780841231931
StatePublished - 2016

Publication series

NameACS Symposium Series
ISSN (Print)0097-6156
ISSN (Electronic)1947-5918

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Chemistry
  • General Chemical Engineering


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