Urban Runoff as a Source of Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbons to Coastal Waters

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Urban runoff samples collected from four storm drains, each serving a different land use, were analyzed for selected polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) by gas chromatography. The PAH concentrations varied widely during the history of each storm and appeared to be most concentrated in first or second flushes. Higher molecular weight PAHs were mostly found associated with the particulates and were enriched on two different particle sizes, a small particle fraction and a larger particle fraction, perhaps from different sources´.The annual input of PAHs to the upper Narragansett Bay watershed was calculated by using storm loads with local rainfall and land use data. The loads of PAHs [mass (drainage area)“1 year”1] in urban runoff were higher at the highway and industrial land uses in comparison to the commercial and residential areas. Urban runoff PAHs are similar in composition to that found in atmospheric fallout but unlike the PAHs in municipal effluents. Comparison of urban runoff PAH inputs to other sources entering Narragansett Bay showed that urban runoff accounted for 71% of the total inputs for higher molecular weight PAHs and 36% of the total PAHs. © 1984, American Chemical Society. All rights reserved.

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Environmental Science and Technology