Document Type

Article

Date of Original Version

3-29-2018

Abstract

Narragansett Bay is a temperate estuary on the Atlantic coast of Rhode Island in the north-eastern United States, which receives organic pollutants from urban and industrial activities in its watershed, though detailed knowledge on sources and fluxes is missing. Twenty-four polyethylene passive samplers were deployed in the surface water of the watershed around Narragansett Bay during June-July of 2014, to examine the spatial variability and possible sources of priority pollutants, namely dissolved polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) and polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDEs). Dissolved ∑22PAH concentrations ranged from 3.6 to 340 ng L-1, and from 2.9 to 220 pg L-1 for ∑12PBDE. The spatial variability of the concentrations was correlated to land use pattern and population distribution, in particular with human activities within 2 km of sampling sites. River discharges derived from the concentrations of PAHs and PBDEs measured here were 10-20 times greater than their previously measured concentrations in the open waters of Narragansett Bay. These results imply that river waters are the main source of PAHs and PDBEs to the Bay and that major sink terms (e.g., sedimentation, degradation) affect their concentrations in the estuary. Predicted PAH and PBDE toxicity based on dissolved concentrations did not exceed 1 toxic unit, suggested that no toxicity occurred at the sampling sites.

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