Calibration and application of the Chemcatcher® passive sampler for monitoring acidic herbicides in the River Exe, UK catchment

Ian Townsend, Lewis Jones, Martin Broom, Anthony Gravell, Melanie Schumacher, Gary R. Fones, Richard Greenwood, Graham A. Mills

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

156 Downloads (Pure)


Acidic herbicides are used to control broad-leaved weeds. They are stable, water-soluble, and with low binding to soil are found frequently in surface waters, often at concentrations above the EU Drinking Water Directive limit of 0.10 μg L−1. This presents a problem when such waters are abstracted for potable supplies. Understanding their sources, transport and fate in river catchments is important. We developed a new Chemcatcher® passive sampler, comprising a 3M Empore™ anion-exchange disk overlaid with a polyethersulphone membrane, for monitoring acidic herbicides (2,4-D, dicamba, dichlorprop, fluroxypyr, MCPA, MCPB, mecoprop, tricolpyr). Sampler uptake rates (R s  = 0.044–0.113 L day−1) were measured in the laboratory. Two field trials using the Chemcatcher® were undertaken in the River Exe catchment, UK. Time-weighted average (TWA) concentrations of the herbicides obtained using the Chemcatcher® were compared with concentrations measured in spot samples of water. The two techniques gave complimentary monitoring data, with the samplers being able to measure stochastic inputs of MCPA and mecoprop occurring in field trial 1. Chemcatcher® detected a large input of MCPA not found by spot sampling during field trial 2. Devices also detected other pesticides and pharmaceuticals with acidic properties. Information obtained using the Chemcatcher® can be used to develop improved risk assessments and catchment management plans and to assess the effectiveness of any mitigation and remediation strategies.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)25130–25142
JournalEnvironmental Science and Pollution Research
Issue number25
Early online date25 Jun 2018
Publication statusPublished - 1 Sept 2018


Dive into the research topics of 'Calibration and application of the Chemcatcher® passive sampler for monitoring acidic herbicides in the River Exe, UK catchment'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this