Linear alkylbenzenes (LABs), coprostanol and epi-coprostanol, were detected in sediment trap and bottom sediment samples at the Deep Water Dump Site 106 located 185 km off the coast of New Jersey, in water depths from 2400 to 2900 m. These findings clearly indicate that organic pollutants derived from dumped sludge are transported through the water column and have accumulated on the deep-sea floor. No significant difference in LABs isomeric composition was observed among sludge and samples, indicating little environmental biodegradation of these compounds. LABs and coprostanol have penetrated down to a depth of 6 cm in sediment, indicating the mixing of these compounds by biological and physical processes. Also, in artificially resuspended surface sediments, high concentrations of LABs and coprostanols were detected, implying that sewage-derived organic pollutants initially deposited on the deep-sea floor can be further dispersed by resuspension and transport processes. Small but significant amounts of coprostanol were detected in the sediment from a control site at which no LABs were detected. The coprostanol is probably derived from feces of marine mammals and sea birds and/or from microbial or geochemical transformations of cholesterol. Polcyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) in sediment trap samples from the dump site were largely from the sewage sludge and had a mixed petroleum and pyrogenic composition. In contrast, PAHs in sediments in the dump site were mainly pyrogenic; contributed either from sewage sludge or from atmospheric transport to the overlying waters. & 1994 American Chemical Society.
Additional publication details
Transport of sludge-derived organic pollutants to deep-sea sediments at deep water dump site 106