Apportionment of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbon sources in lower Fox River, USA, sediments by a chemical mass balance model

Su M., Chrıstensen E., Karls J., Kosuru S., Imamoglu I.

ENVIRONMENTAL TOXICOLOGY AND CHEMISTRY, vol.19, pp.1481-1490, 2000 (Journal Indexed in SCI) identifier identifier


Four sediment cores were collected from the lower Fox River, Wisconsin, USA, to identify possible sources of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) using a chemical mass balance model. The cores, which were obtained in 1995 from areas close to Green Bay, Wisconsin, USA, had total PAH concentrations between 19.3 and 0.34 ppm. To determine historical trends of PAH inputs, Pb-210 and Cs-137 dating was used, and elemental carbon particle analysis was done to characterize particles from the combustion of coal, wood, and petroleum. Source fingerprints were taken from the literature. Our results indicate that coke oven emissions, highway dust, coal gasification, and wood burning are likely sources of PAHs in the lower Fox River. Coke oven emissions are in the range of 40 to 90% of total PAHs, and this fraction decreases from 1930 to 1990, except in core Fox River-A (FR-A). The overall highway dust (HWY) contribution is between 10 and 75%, and this fraction increases from 1930 to present, except in core FR-A. The wood burning (WB) contribution (i.e;, wood burning or coal gasification) is less than 7% in cores FR-B, FR-C, and FR-D. In core FR-A, a maximum (approximate to 23%) is found around 1960. The contribution of wood burning has changed from less than 68 in 1950 to between 3 and 10% in 1995. Evidence of aerobic biodegradation or photolysis in the sediment of phenanthrene, with a half-life of approximately 0.5 years has been found at the site of core FR-D, which is the shallowest (1.1 m) of the four core sites.