Dynamic behaviour of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons in Brighton marina, UK

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Journal Article
Marine Pollution Bulletin, 2004, 48 (3-4), pp. 229 - 239
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The distribution of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) between various phases is fundamental in the control of their movement and impact in the marine environment. In this study samples of water and sediments were regularly collected from Brighton marina, UK, to quantify the intensity, spatial and temporal variations of PAH contamination. The results show clearly that PAH behaviour in marine systems is highly complex, and controlled by the interplay of PAH sources, compound physicochemical properties, water and sediment movement, and field conditions. Levels of total PAHs (16 compounds) in the dissolved phase were found to vary between <2 and 11,400 ng/l, with higher values observed in the winter months. Total PAH concentration in sediment samples varied between 24 and 4710 ng/g dry weight. PAHs in water were dominated by low molecular mass compounds (2-ring), while PAHs in sediments were mainly derived from 2-4 ring compounds. In addition, dissolved concentrations were increased during sediment dredging and after a period of severe rainfall. PAHs in Brighton marina are likely to be from both pyrolytic and petrogenic sources; as a result, field-derived distribution coefficients for individual PAHs between sediment and water tend to follow the equilibrium partition models, although slight exceedance is apparent. The extended partition model incorporating soot carbon has achieved limited success in better predicting PAH behaviour. © 2003 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
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