Sediment contamination of residential streams in the metropolitan Kansas City area, USA: Part I. Distribution of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbon and pesticide-related compounds

J Tao, D Huggins, G Welker, J R Dias, C G Ingersoll, J B Murowchick
Archives of Environmental Contamination and Toxicology 2010, 59 (3): 352-69
This is the first part of a study that evaluates the influence of nonpoint-source contaminants on the sediment quality of five streams within the metropolitan Kansas City area, central United States. Surficial sediment was collected in 2003 from 29 sites along five streams with watersheds that extend from the core of the metropolitan area to its development fringe. Sediment was analyzed for 16 polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs), 3 common polychlorinated biphenyl mixtures (Aroclors), and 25 pesticiderelated compounds of eight chemical classes. Multiple PAHs were detected at more than 50% of the sites, and concentrations of total PAHs ranged from 290 to 82,150 microg/kg (dry weight). The concentration and frequency of detection of PAHs increased with increasing urbanization of the residential watersheds. Four- and five-ring PAH compounds predominated the PAH composition (73-100%), especially fluoranthene and pyrene. The PAH composition profiles along with the diagnostic isomer ratios [e.g., anthracene/(anthracene + phenanthrene), 0.16 +/- 0.03; fluoranthene/(fluoranthene + pyrene), 0.55 +/- 0.01)] indicate that pyrogenic sources (i.e., coal-tar-related operations or materials and traffic-related particles) may be common PAH contributors to these residential streams. Historicaluse organochlorine insecticides and their degradates dominated the occurrences of pesticide-related compounds, with chlordane and dieldrin detected in over or nearly 50% of the samples. The occurrence of these historical organic compounds was associated with past urban applications, which may continue to be nonpoint sources replenishing local streams. Concentrations of low molecular weight (LMW; two or three rings) and high molecular weight (HMW; four to six rings) PAHs covaried along individual streams but showed dissimilar distribution patterns between the streams, while the historical pesticide-related compounds generally increased in concentration downstream. Correlations were noted between LMW and HMW PAHs for most of the streams and between historical-use organochlorine compounds and total organic carbon and clay content of sediments for one of the streams (Brush Creek). Stormwater runoff transport modes are proposed to describe how the two groups of contaminants migrated and distributed in the streambed.

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