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PAH and PCB contamination in the sediments of the Venice Lagoon (Italy) before the installation of the MOSE flood defence works
- Cassin, Daniele, Dominik, Janusz, Botter, Margherita, Zonta, Roberto
- Environmental science and pollution research international 2018 v.25 no.25 pp. 24951-24964
- United States Environmental Protection Agency, aroclors, atmospheric deposition, burning, capillary gas chromatography, coasts, guidelines, high performance liquid chromatography, inventories, petroleum, pollutants, polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, sediments, toxicity, Italy
- Contamination from polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) and polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) in the shallow water areas of the Venice Lagoon (415 km²) was investigated in the surface (0–5 cm) and sub-surface (5–10 cm) sediments by collecting cores from 380 sites. The concentrations of 14 PAHs (USEPA priority pollutants) and seven PCB indicator congeners were analysed with high-performance liquid chromatography (HPLC) and capillary gas chromatography (GC), respectively. PAH and PCB concentrations ranged from 2.75 to 9980 ng g⁻¹ d.w. and from 0.01 to 60.1 ng g⁻¹ d.w., respectively. Their concentrations never exceeded the probable effect level (PEL) stipulated in the respective quality guidelines. In addition, the average total PAH levels expressed as B[a]P toxicity equivalents (total TEQ) were lower in the sediments of the Venice Lagoon than in other literature-reported zones in the Mediterranean. PAH profiles and ratios showed that they originated not only largely from high-temperature pyrolytic processes attributable primarily to the burning of fossil fuels but also partly from petroleum spillage. Comparison of tetra-to-hepta PCB congeners enabled the PCB profiles observed in the lagoon environment to be characterised as Aroclor 1254 and 1260 (1:1). Compared to other marine coastal areas and harbours in the Mediterranean, the Venice Lagoon sediments showed a low mean value but a wide range of concentrations. The estimation of PAH and PCB inventories indicated the low contribution of atmospheric deposition relative to local sources.