Northeastern Section - 53rd Annual Meeting - 2018

Paper No. 34-7
Presentation Time: 8:00 AM-12:00 PM


HOWARD, Eric1, PLATTEL, Richard1, JUDGE, Elizabeth1, YEKANIFARD, Nazila1, MAHMOUD, Omar1, DASILVA, Michael2, DAVI, Nicole3 and BECKER, Martin A.4, (1)William Paterson University, 300 Pompton Road, Wayne, NJ 07470, (2)Department of Environmental Science, William Paterson University of New Jersey, 300 Pompton Road, Wayne, NJ 07470, (3)Environmental Science, William Paterson University, Wayne, 07470, (4)Department of Environmental Science, William Paterson University, 300 Pompton Rd., Wayne, NJ 07470

Anthropogenic microplastic pollution in freshwater bodies continues to be a growing health concern to aquatic and human health. The aim of this study is to investigate the presence and distribution of microplastic pollution at eight sample locations along the 7.8 mile stretch of Molly Ann Brook in Wayne, New Jersey. A variety of tributaries, lakes, and ponds were sampled during the fall 2017, with a total of 40 one liter water samples that were stored in glass containers. These grab samples taken from a depth of 0-18 cm were filtered through 0.45µm filter paper after which the filtrate was allowed to oxidize in the presence of 30% hydrogen peroxide for one week. Oxidized filtrate was filtered through a 0.45µm filter paper and observed at 100X with a binocular microscope. All samples contained pellets, fragments, and fibers; the three types of particles defined for this study. Flow rate, stream depth, and particle count were found to be positively correlated, especially after precipitation events. Raman spectroscopy was used to determine polymer structure of pellets large enough to be scanned. The results from this preliminary study will add to the growing understanding on how precipitation and flow rate affect microplastic distribution in a watershed. This study and other relevant pollution studies show how proper policy should be put into effect in order to mitigate plastic pollution. The data obtained from this study suggests that there is a relationship between pollution pathways and hydrodynamics is affected by precipitation events.