Microplastic contamination in the San Francisco Bay, California, USA

Despite widespread detection of microplastic pollution in marine environments, data describing microplastic abundance in urban estuaries and microplastic discharge via treated municipal wastewater are limited. This study presents information on abundance, distribution, and composition of microplastic at nine sites in San Francisco Bay, California, USA. Also presented are characterizations of microplastic in final effluent from eight wastewater treatment plants, employing varying treatment technologies, that discharge to the Bay. With an average microplastic abundance of 700,000 particles/km2, Bay surface water appears to have higher microplastic levels than other urban waterbodies sampled in North America. Moreover, treated wastewater from facilities that discharge into the Bay contains considerable microplastic contamination. Facilities employing tertiary filtration did not show lower levels of contamination than those using secondary treatment. As textile-derived fibers were more abundant in wastewater, higher levels of fragments in surface water suggest additional pathways of microplastic pollution, such as stormwater runoff.



Work Title Microplastic contamination in the San Francisco Bay, California, USA
Open Access
  1. Rebecca Sutton
  2. Sherri A. Mason
  3. Shavonne K. Stanek
  4. Ellen Willis-Norton
  5. Ian F. Wren
  6. Carolynn Box
License In Copyright (Rights Reserved)
Work Type Article
  1. Marine Pollution Bulletin
Publication Date August 15, 2016
Publisher Identifier (DOI)
  1. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.marpolbul.2016.05.077
Deposited November 17, 2021




This resource is currently not in any collection.

Work History

Version 1

  • Created
  • Added SanFranBay_MarinePollutionBulletin2016_Sutton_etal.pdf
  • Added Creator Rebecca Sutton
  • Added Creator Sherri A. Mason
  • Added Creator Shavonne K. Stanek
  • Added Creator Ellen Willis-Norton
  • Added Creator Ian F. Wren
  • Added Creator Carolynn Box
  • Published
  • Updated
  • Updated