SPATIAL AND TEMPORAL VARIATION IN MICROPLASTICS IN THE KENNEBEC RIVER, MAINE, USA: A PILOT STUDY
Microplastics (<5mm) are well-documented in marine and urban freshwater environments, but the distribution and characterization of microplastics in rural freshwater ecosystems is less understood. Our study aims to determine whether microplastics are present in a Maine river system, the Kennebec River and its tributary Messalonskee Stream, with primarily forested and rural watersheds. Surface water and sediment samples were gathered from 6 sites along the Kennebec and Messalonskee, including sites above and below the Kennebec Sanitary Treatment Plant (KSTP). Microplastic from water and sediment samples were counted and categorized as either a fragment, film, foam, pellet, or fiber. Microplastics were found at all sites, but concentrations of microplastics are higher below the KSTP. Microplastic concentrations in the water below the KSTP averaged 13 L -1, while they averaged 8 L -1 above KSTP. Plastic fibers dominated all other categories across sampling sites. This pilot study will provide insight into the types and quantity of microplastic present in a rural river catchment, and may provide foundation for future work on microplastic in the region.
Denise Bruesewitz (Co-Presenter/Co-Author), Colby College, email@example.com;
Travis Reynolds (Co-Presenter/Co-Author), Colby College, firstname.lastname@example.org ;
Emily Carter (Primary Presenter/Author), Colby College, email@example.com;