IJERPH, Vol. 18, Pages 10797: Concentrations and Risk Assessments of Antibiotics in an Urban–Rural Complex Watershed with Intensive Livestock Farming (International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health)
Antibiotics used for the treatment of humans and livestock are released into the environment, whereby they pose a grave threat to biota (including humans) as they can cause the emergence of various strains of resistant bacteria. An improved understanding of antibiotics in the environment is thus vital for appropriate management and mitigation. Herein, surface water and groundwater samples containing antibiotics were analyzed in an urban–rural complex watershed (Cheongmi Stream) comprising intensive livestock farms by collecting samples across different time points and locations. The spatiotemporal trends of the residual antibiotics were analyzed, and ecological and antibiotic resistance-based risk assessments were performed considering their concentrations. The results showed that the concentrations and detection frequencies of the residual antibiotics in the surface water were affected by various factors such as agricultural activities and point sources, and were higher than those found in groundwater; however, frequent detection of antibiotics in groundwater showed that residual antibiotics were influenced by factors such as usage pattern and sewage runoff. Furthermore, few antibiotics posed ecological risks. The risk assessment methods adopted in this study can be applied elsewhere, and the results can be considered in the environmental management of residual antibiotics in the Cheongmi Stream watershed.