2018-2019 Executive Summary
Managers are challenged with addressing contaminants of emerging concern (CECs) in the face of a limited but rapidly growing knowledge base about their sources, pervasiveness and effects. There are tens of thousands of chemicals to triage, making the traditional chemical-by-chemical approach to monitoring and regulation unwieldy. Moreover, CECs are a “moving target,” as new chemicals are substituted for ones that are being phased out. In some cases, their potential for impact occurs at much lower levels and is manifested over longer periods of time when compared with chemicals already being regulated, which has presented additional challenges for their detection and assessment. As a result, a new approach to monitoring and assessment of aquatic contaminants is needed.
SCCWRP is developing three types of tools for sampling and measurement of chemical and biological parameters that will best inform whether CECs associated with permitted discharges are negatively impacting aquatic systems in California. Methods that employ state-of-the-art engineered cell biology (“bioanalytical tools”) can screen for many chemicals at the same time, making monitoring more efficient, relevant and comprehensive than the status quo. New chemical techniques that identify CECs responsible for exerting toxicity and that accumulate in wildlife (“targeted” and “non-targeted” chemical analysis) will provide a means for interpreting biological monitoring results. Tools that concentrate chemicals directly from the environment (“passive sampling methods”) will make sampling and collection of CECs more efficient and relevant. Integration of these tools with diagnostic toxicity testing and monitoring for CEC impacts in situ using a tiered monitoring framework will allow managers to make informed decisions concerning the level of treatment, discharge and occurrence of CECs.
This year, SCCWRP will continue investigating new bioanalytical tools that screen for CECs responsible for non-endocrine modes of action, while continuing to assess the quantitative linkage between cellular (“bioscreening”) assay responses and effects to organisms for endocrine-disrupting CECs (“EDCs”). SCCWRP will also continue developing and applying targeted and non-targeted chemical methods for identifying water-soluble CECs and biotoxins. Finally, SCCWRP will test different passive sampling materials that can efficiently sample and concentrate CECs, including biotoxins, from the environment. SCCWRP’s focus for 2018-19 will be on: