Microplastic Contamination in Karst Groundwater Systems

Samuel V. Panno, Walton R. Kelly, John Scott, Wei Zheng, Rachel E. McNeish, Nancy Holm, Timothy J. Hoellein, Elizabeth L. Baranski

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Groundwater in karst aquifers constitutes about 25% of drinking water sources globally. Karst aquifers are open systems, susceptible to contamination by surface-borne pollutants. In this study, springs and wells from two karst aquifers in Illinois, USA, were found to contain microplastics and other anthropogenic contaminants. All microplastics were fibers, with a maximum concentration of 15.2 particles/L. The presence of microplastic was consistent with other parameters, including phosphate, chloride and triclosan, suggesting septic effluent as a source. More studies are needed on microplastic sources, abundance, and impacts on karst ecosystems.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)189-196
Number of pages8
Issue number2
StatePublished - Mar 1 2019

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Water Science and Technology
  • Computers in Earth Sciences


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