Polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbon status in post-hurricane Harvey sediments: Considerations for environmental sampling in the Galveston Bay/Houston Ship Channel region
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Hurricane Harvey led to a broad redistribution of sediment throughout Galveston Bay and the Houston Ship Channel (GB/HSC), but the resulting changes in chemical contaminant distributions have yet to be characterized. To address this question, we collected and analyzed post-Harvey sediment for concentrations of the EPA 16 Priority Pollutant polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbon (PAHs), determining the extent to which the spatial distribution and sourcing of contaminants may have changed in contrast to historical surface sediment data (<5 cm) from the National Oceanic Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) available for the years 1996-2011. We found a small, but detectable increase from pre- to post-Harvey in PAH concentrations, with PAH diagnostic sourcing indicating combustion origins. Of the detected PAHs, none exceeded Sediment Quality Guideline values. Overall, we have added to the understanding of PAH spatial trends within the GB/HSC region, and developed a reference PAH baseline to inform future studies.
author list (cited authors)
Camargo, K., Sericano, J. L., Bhandari, S., Hoelscher, C., McDonald, T. J., Chiu, W. A., ... Knap, A. H.