Title

Levels and patterns of PAH distribution in sediments from New York/New Jersey Harbor Complex

Document Type

Article

Publication Date

2004

Publication Title

Northeastern geology and environmental sciences

Keywords

Polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons; molecular composition; New York Harbor, sediment tracers

Abstract

Dated surface sediment samples representing 1990's deposition were collected to establish spatial distribution and concentration levels of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) in the New York /New Jersey (NY/NJ) Harbor complex. Total PAH concentrations (rPAH, the sum of 16 EPA priority PAHs) range from 900 to 80,200 ng/g dry weight. The highest PAH levels were observed in sediments from Newtown Creek, which receives the effluent of a large wastewater treatment plant. Central Park Lake sediments had a high rPAH level (14,500 ng/g) due to the low sediment accumulation rate at this location. Four molecular ratios, Fl/(Fl+Py) (fluoranthene/fluoranthene + pyrene), Par/(Par+Alkyl) (ratio of parental PAHs to their respective parental plus alkylated homologues), Ring456/TPAH (proportion of high mass 4-6 ring PAHs to total PAH), and C/(C0+C1)F/P (ratio of parental Fl, Py series) were significantly correlated. There are poor correlations between these four ratios and the ratios of anthracene/(phenanthrene+anthr acene), benz(a)anthracene/(benz(a)anthracene+chrysene), and C/(C0+C1)P/A (ratio of parental Pa/A series). The four well-correlated ratios indicate that although combustion-derived PAHs are dominant at all areas, some contributions from petroleum are apparent in Kill van Kull and mainstem Hudson samples.

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