Willapa Bay and Grays Harbor are two adjacent estuaries along the coast of Washington state. Willapa Bay is a recreational area minimally affected by industry; Grays Harbor, on the other hand, is moderately industrialized. Aliphatic hydrocarbons in surface sediments from these two estuaries reflect the differences in human activities. For example, the mean concentration of aliphatic hydrocarbons for seven stations in Willapa Bay is 1,000 ?g/g (relative to organic carbon) while in Grays Harbor this mean concentration for
six stations is 1,900 ?g/g. The difference is attributed mainly to the greater urban and industrial pollution in Grays Harbor. The gas chromatographic records of aliphatic hydrocarbons also reflect the extent of hydrocarbon pollution by the presence of a chromatographically unresolved mixture of hydrocarbons. This kind of mixture is more evident in sediments from Grays Harbor, and in both estuaries it is more concentrated in sediments collected nearest to urban centers.
Additional publication details
USGS Numbered Series
Aliphatic Hydrocarbons in Surface Sediments of Willapa Bay and Grays Harbor, Washington