Microplastics are ubiquitously found in freshwater and marine environments worldwide. In particular, wastewater treatment plants (WWTPs) or sewage treatment plants (STPs) have been recognized as a main source of microplastics in the receiving freshwater. However, only a few studies have been conducted to examine the impact of these facilities on receiving waters. In this study, we investigated the distribution of microplastics in surface water, fish, and sediment near a sewage treatment plant (STP) in the Tanchon stream, one of the main tributaries flowing into the Han River, Korea. The concentration of microplastics in water varied spatially and temporarily, ranging between 5.3 and 87.3 particles/m3
(31.4 ± 28.5 particles/m3
). In fish, the concentration in upstream and downstream sites was 7.3 ± 7.3 and 12.4 ± 17.9 particles/fish, respectively. Spatially, the downstream site was the most polluted with microplastics in water and fish. The concentration of microplastics was positively correlated with fish body length and weight. In sediment, microplastic concentration in upstream and downstream sites was 493.1 ± 136.0 and 380.0 ± 144.2 particles/kg, respectively. The contribution of upstream to the microplastic load in downstream was 15.8% in dry season (April), which was higher than that of STP effluent and Yangjaechon creek. Meanwhile, the highest load was observed in STP effluent (5.1%) in rainy season (August). Microplastics were more abundant in water in the rainy season (37.4 ± 37.0 particles/m3
) than in the dry season (28.2 ± 22.2 particles/m3
). Polyethylene (49%) and polypropylene (18%) were the most abundant polymer types in water, fish, and sediment. Regarding shape of microplastics, fragments were dominant (95%) over fiber and film in water, fish, and sediment.
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