Determining pharmaceutical loadings to select Texas coastal systems and associated risks to aquatic life

2012-2014 - $294,735

Bryan W. Brooks, Bruce W. Byars, C. Kevin Chambliss
Baylor University, Waco, Texas


Over the next few decades, decreased instream flows to Texas bays and estuaries will occur in response to a doubling of the Texas population and climatic variability. Further, an increasing proportion of base inflows to the Texas coast are projected to be increasingly dominated by and even dependent on effluent discharges from wastewater treatment plants. Though these effluents contain a complex mixture of pharmaceuticals and other Contaminants of Emerging Concern (CECs), information on hydrologic loading of these contaminants to Texas coastal systems and associated risks to aquatic life are not known. Our proposed study will leverage our previous and ongoing efforts to perform fundamental research that is critically needed to support future risk assessment and management efforts to sustain healthy coastal ecosystems and the safety of fisheries. We will partner with Texas Sea Grant extension specialists to develop and implement a novel elementary school education model on pharmaceuticals in the environment. This proposed study will thus directly address the Texas Sea Grant research priority area of examining “the ecosystem impacts of natural resource agency management decisions,” specifically including “survey of pharmaceuticals entering coastal waters” and “ecosystem impacts of contaminants of emerging concern.”