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Historical trends in organochlorine compounds in river basins identified using sediment cores from reservoirs

Environmental Science and Technology

By:
, , and
DOI: 10.1021/es960943p

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Abstract

This study used chemical analyses of dated sediment cores from reservoirs to define historical trends in water quality in the influent river basins. This work applies techniques from paleolimnology to reservoirs, and in the process, highlights differences between sediment-core interpretations for reservoirs and natural lakes. Sediment cores were collected from six reservoirs in the central and southeastern United States, sectioned, and analyzed for 137Cs and organochlorine compounds. 137Cs analyses were used to demonstrate limited post-depositional mixing, to indicate sediment deposition dates, and to estimate sediment focusing factors. Relative lack of mixing, high sedimentation rates, and high focusing factors distinguish reservoir sediment cores from cores collected in natural lakes. Temporal trends in concentrations of PCBs, total DDT (DDT + DDD + DDE), and chlordane reflect historical use and regulation of these compounds and differences in land use between reservoir drainages. PCB and total DDT core burdens, normalized for sediment focusing, greatly exceed reported cumulative regional atmospheric fallout of PCBs and total DDT estimated using cores from peat hogs and natural lakes, indicating the dominance of fluvial inputs of both groups of compounds to the reservoirs.This study used chemical analyses of dated sediment cores from reservoirs to define historical trends in water quality in the influent river basins. This work applies techniques from paleolimnology to reservoirs, and in the process, highlights differences between sediment-core interpretations for reservoirs and natural lakes. Sediment cores were collected from six reservoirs in the central and southeastern United States, sectioned, and analyzed for 137Cs and organochlorine compounds. 137Cs analyses were used to demonstrate limited post-depositional mixing, to indicate sediment deposition dates, and to estimate sediment focusing factors. Relative lack of mixing, high sedimentation rates, and high focusing factors distinguish reservoir sediment cores from cores collected in natural lakes. Temporal trends in concentrations of PCBs, total DOT (DDT+DDD+DDE), and chlordane reflect historical use and regulation of these compounds and differences in land use between reservoir drainages. PCB and total DDT core burdens, normalized for sediment focusing, greatly exceed reported cumulative regional atmospheric fallout of PCBs and total DDT estimated using cores from peat bogs and natural lakes, indicating the dominance of fluvial inputs of both groups of compounds to the reservoirs.

Additional Publication Details

Publication type:
Article
Publication Subtype:
Journal Article
Title:
Historical trends in organochlorine compounds in river basins identified using sediment cores from reservoirs
Series title:
Environmental Science and Technology
DOI:
10.1021/es960943p
Volume
31
Issue:
8
Year Published:
1997
Language:
English
Publisher:
ACS
Publisher location:
Washington, DC, United States
Larger Work Type:
Article
Larger Work Subtype:
Journal Article
Larger Work Title:
Environmental Science and Technology
First page:
2339
Last page:
2344
Number of Pages:
6