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Sediments of the New York Bight are analyzed for coprostanol, a fecal steroid, to determine the degree of sewage contamination. Coprostanol, when reported as a percentage of total steroids (% coprostanol), can be quantitatively related to the amount of sewage-derived organic matter. Furthermore, coprostanol is quite persistent in anoxic silts of the Bight and, thus, can be used to delineate historical contamination in these silts. Based on the sediments analyzed, the New York Bight is shown to be highly contaminated with sewage (most likely ocean-dumped sewage sludge), especially in the topographically low areas near the dump site, where black silts have been known to accumulate.
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Sewage contamination in the new york bight. Coprostanol as an indicator