Long-term (60-yr) predictions of vertical profiles of p,p???-DDE concentrations in contaminated bottom sediments on the Palos Verdes shelf were calculated for three locations along the 60-m isobath using a numerical solution of the one-dimensional advection-diffusion equation. The calculations incorporated the following processes: sediment deposition (or erosion), depth-dependent solid-phase biodiffusive mixing, in situ diagenetic transformation, and loss of p,p???-DDE across the sediment-water interface by two mechanisms (resuspension of sediments by wave action and subsequent loss of p,p???-DDE to the water column by desorption, and desorption from sediments to porewater and subsequent molecular diffusion to the water column). A combination of field measurements, laboratory analyses, and calculations with supporting models was used to set parameters for the model. The model explains significant features observed in measurements made every 2 years from 1981 to 1997 by the County Sanitation Districts of Los Angeles (LACSD). Analyses of available data suggest that two sites northwest of the Whites Point sewage outfalls will remain depositional, even as particulate supply from the sewage-treatment plant and nearby Portuguese Bend Landslide decreases. At these sites, model predictions for 1991-2050 indicate that most of the existing inventory of p,p???-DDE will remain buried and that surface concentrations will gradually decrease. Analyses of data southeast of the outfalls suggest that erosion is likely to occur somewhere on the southeast edge of the existing effluent-affected deposit, and model predictions for such a site showed that erosion and biodiffusion will reintroduce the p,p???-DDE to the upper layer of sediments, with subsequent increases in surface concentrations and loss to the overlying water column.
Additional publication details
Prediction of the fate of p,p'-DDE in sediment on the Palos Verdes shelf, California, USA