Comparison of temporal trends in ambient and compliance trace element and PCB data in pool 2 of the Mississippi River, USA, 1985-1995

Jesse Anderson, Jim Perry

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


The Intergovernmental Task Force on Monitoring has suggested studies on ambient (in-stream) and compliance (wastewater) data to determine if monitoring can be reduced locally or nationally. The similarity in temporal trends between retrospective ambient and compliance water-quality data collected from Pool 2 of the Mississippi River, USA, was determined for 1985- 1995. Constituents studied included the following trace elements: arsenic (As), cadmium (Cd), chromium (Cr), hexavalent chromium (Cr6+), copper (Cu), lead (Pb), mercury (Hg), nickel (Ni), selenium (Se), zinc (Zn), and polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs). Water-column, bed-sediment, and fish-tissue (fillets) data collected by five government agencies comprised the ambient data set; effluent data from five registered facilities comprised the compliance data set. The nonparametric Mann-Kendall trend test indicated that 33% of temporal trends in all data were statistically significant (P < 0.05). Possible reasons for this were low sample sizes, and a high percentage of samples below the analytical detection limit. Trends in compliance data were more distinct; most trace elements decreased significantly, probably due to improvements in wastewater treatment. Seven trace elements (Cr, Cd, Cu, Pb, Hg, Ni, and Zn) had statistically significant decreases in wastewater and portions of either or both ambient water and bed sediment. No trends were found in fish tissue. Inconsistency in trends between ambient and compliance data were often found for individual constituents, making overall similarity between the data sets difficult to determine. Logistical differences in monitoring programs, such as varying field and laboratory methods among agencies, made it difficult to assess ambient temporal trends.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)497-507
Number of pages11
JournalEnvironmental management
Issue number4
StatePublished - Nov 1999


  • Ambient data
  • Compliance data
  • Mann-Kendall trend test
  • PCBs, Mississippi River
  • Trace elements


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