Significant spatial variability of bioavailable PAHs in water column and sediment porewater in the Gulf of Mexico 1 year after the Deepwater Horizon oil spill

Yongseok Hong, Dana Wetzel, Erin L Pulster, Pete Hull, Danny Reible, Hyun-Min Hwang, Pan Ji, Erik Rifkin, Edward Bouwer
Environmental Monitoring and Assessment 2015, 187 (10): 646
One year after the Deepwater Horizon oil spill accident, semipermeable membrane devices (SPMDs) and polyethylene devices (PEDs) were deployed in wetland areas and coastal areas of the Gulf of Mexico (GOM) to monitor polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs). The measured PAH levels with the PEDs in coastal areas were 0.05-1.9 ng/L in water and 0.03-9.7 ng/L in sediment porewater. With the SPMDs, the measured PAH levels in wetlands (Barataria Bay) were 1.4-73 ng/L in water and 3.3-107 ng/L in porewater. The total PAH concentrations in the coastal areas were close to the reported baseline PAH concentrations in GOM; however, the total PAH concentrations in the wetland areas were one or two orders of magnitude higher than those reported in the coastal areas. In light of the significant spatial variability of PAHs in the Gulf's environments, baseline information on PAHs should be obtained in specific areas periodically.

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