Mass balances of total arsenic and copper for a suburban lake in densely populated northern Virginia were calculated using data collected during 1998. Mass-balance terms were precipitation; stream inflow, including road runoff; stream outflow; and contributions from leaching of pressure-treated lumber. More mass of arsenic and copper was input to the lake than was output; the 1998 lake-retention rates were 70% for arsenic and 20% for copper. The arsenic mass balance compared well with a calculated annual mass accumulation in the top 1 cm of the lake sediments; however, the calculated contribution of copper to the lake was insufficient to account for the amount of copper in this zone. Leaching experiments were conducted on lumber treated with chromated copper arsenate (CCA) to quantify approximate amounts of arsenic and copper contributed by this source. Sources to lake sediments included leaching of CCA-treated lumber (arsenic, 50%; copper, 4%), streamwater (arsenic, 50%; copper, 90%), and atmospheric deposition (arsenic, 1%; copper, 3%). Results of this study suggest that CCA-treated lumber and road runoff could be significant nonpoint sources of arsenic and copper, respectively, in suburban catchments.
Additional publication details
Anthropogenic sources of arsenic and copper to sediments in a suburban lake, Northern Virginia