Science of the Total Environment, 01 December 2017, Vol.601-602, pp.636-645
The contamination of riverine sediments and suspended matter with hydrophobic pollutants is typically associated with urban land use. However, it is rarely related to the sediment supply of the watershed, because sediment yield data are often missing. We show for a suite of watersheds in two regions of Germany with contrasting land use and geology that the contamination of suspended particles with polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAH) can be explained by the ratio of inhabitants residing within the watershed and the watershed's sediment yield. The modeling of sediment yields is based on the Revised Universal Soil Loss Equation (RUSLE2015, Panagos et al., 2015) and the sediment delivery ratio (SDR). The applicability of this approach is demonstrated for watersheds ranging in size from 1.4 to 3000 km . The approach implies that the loading of particles with PAH can be assumed as time invariant. This is indicated by additional long-term measurements from sub-watersheds of the upper River Neckar basin, Germany. The parsimonious conceptual approach allows for reasonable predictions of the PAH loading of suspended sediments especially at larger scales. Our findings may easily be used to estimate the vulnerability of river systems to particle-associated urban pollutants with similar input pathways as the PAH or to indicate if contaminant point sources such as sites of legacy pollution exist in a river basin.
Sediment Quality ; Particle-Facilitated Pollutant Transport ; Pah ; Sediment Yield ; Urbanization ; Environmental Sciences ; Biology ; Public Health
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