In spring 2000, the Texas Department of Health issued a fish consumption advisory for Lake Worth in Fort Worth, Texas, because of elevated concentrations of polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) in fish. In response to the advisory and in cooperation with the U.S. Air Force, the U.S. Geological Survey collected 21 surficial sediment samples and three gravity core sediment samples to assess the spatial distribution and historical trends of selected hydrophobic contaminants, including PCBs, and to determine, to the extent possible, sources of hydrophobic contaminants to Lake Worth. Compared to reference (background) concentrations in the upper lake, elevated PCB concentrations were detected in the surficial sediment samples collected in Woods Inlet, which receives surface runoff from Air Force facilities and urban areas. Gravity cores from Woods Inlet and from the main part of the lake near the dam indicate that the concentrations of PCBs were three to five times higher in the 1960s than in 2000. A regression method was used to normalize sediment concentrations of trace elements for natural variations and to distinguish natural and anthropogenic contributions to sediments. Concentrations of several trace elements?cadmium, chromium, copper, lead, and zinc?were elevated in sediments in Woods Inlet, along the shoreline of Air Force facilities, and in the main lake near the dam. Concentrations of these five trace elements have decreased since 1970. Polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons also were elevated in the same areas of the lake. Concentrations of total polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, normalized with organic carbon, were mostly stable in the upper lake but steadily increased near the dam, except for small decreases since 1980. The Woods Inlet gravity core showed the largest increase of the three core sites beginning about 1940; total polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbon concentrations in post-1940 sediments from the core showed three apparent peaks about 1960, 1984, and 2000. The concentrations of organochlorine pesticides were low relative to consensus-based sediment-quality guidelines and either decreased or remained constant since 1970. The two likely sources of hydrophobic contaminants to the lake are urban areas around the lake and the drainage area of Meandering Road Creek that contributes runoff to Woods Inlet and includes Air Force facilities.
Additional publication details
USGS Numbered Series
Spatial distribution and trends in trace elements, polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, organochlorine pesticides, and polychlorinated biphenyls in Lake Worth sediment, Fort Worth, Texas