Determining Spatial Distribution And Air-Water Exchange Of Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbons In Stormwater Runoff Catchment Basins

Tuesday, 16 December 2014
Varun K Kasaraneni1, Laura A Schifman2, Vinka Craver1 and Thomas B Boving1, (1)University of Rhode Island, Kingston, RI, United States, (2)University of Rhode Island, Geosciences, Kingston, RI, United States
Stormwater runoff is a conduit for several pollutants such as polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) in to surface and ground water bodies. The control of runoff and pollutants is typically addressed by best management practices (BMPs), such as retention/detention ponds or catchment basins in general. The effectiveness of catchment basins in reducing the volume of runoff and removal of some contaminants has been established. However, very little is known about the fate of the contaminants settled within these structures. In coastal regions and places with shallow groundwater tables accumulation of high concentrations of PAHs in the bottom sediments poses a potential threat for groundwater contamination. The concentrations of PAHs accumulated in the sediments of these catchment basins will primarily depend on the sources of runoff origin and the surrounding land use. Due to the physico-chemical characteristics of PAHs, their transport not only can occur in the liquid and solid phase, but it is also possible that gaseous emissions can be produced from BMP systems.

For the purpose of this study, five stormwater catchment basins along the I-95 corridor in Rhode Island were selected based on the stormwater runoff origin and covering (industrial, urban, highway, and commercial) land uses. To study the stratification of PAHs sediment cores one foot were collected and analyzed for 31PAHs (16 EPA parent PAH and 15 methylated PAHs). In order to determine whether the catchment basins are a source of atmospheric pollution polyethylene passive samplers were deployed to determine the freely dissolved PAHs in the water column and gas phase PAHs at the air-water interface. This presentation will describe how PAH fluxes move between three environmental compartments (sediments, water column, atmosphere) within the five stormwater catchment basins. Further, it will be investigated whether these BMP structures can act as contaminant sources rather than sinks and whether BMP maintenance has to be targeted towards pollutant removal to maintain an effective stormwater treatment system.