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The degradation of saturated and aromatic hydrocarbons was studied in batch slurry experiments conducted with field-aged sediments, highly impacted by hydrocarbon pollution. Experiments focused on examining the effects of desorption limitations to hydrocarbon mineralization and degradation. Degradation of PAH (e.g., naphthalene, fluorene, acenaphthene) and saturated hydrocarbons was examined in field-aged sediments collected from four sites in greater NY Harbor and western Long Island Sound. The sites were Rikers Island in far western Long Island Sound, Williamsburg Bridge in the East River, Shooters Island in the Arthur Kill, and the Kill Van Kull off Bayonne, New Jersey. Patterns of hydrocarbon desorption and degradation in weathered sediments were complicated by the mixed combustion and oil-derived hydrocarbon sources, and differed markedly from patterns seen in sediments following an oil spill. Rates of degradation in experiments with spiked sediments, especially over short timescales, did not appear to be limited by rates of desorption. This is an abstract of a paper presented at the 224th ACS National Meeting (Boston, MA 8/18-22/2002).
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Chemical and biological availability of hydrocarbons in urban harbor sediments