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Deposition Mapping of Polycyclic Aromatic Compounds in the Oil Sands Region of Alberta, Canada and Linkages to Ecosystem Impacts

Cheng, Irene, Wen, Deyong, Zhang, Leiming, Wu, Zhiyong, Qiu, Xin, Yang, Fuquan, Harner, Tom
Environmental science & technology 2018 v.52 no.21 pp. 12456-12464
anthracenes, bitumen, chemical species, dry deposition, ecosystems, naphthalene, oil sands, phenanthrenes, polycyclic compounds, wet deposition, wildlife, Alberta
This study produced gridded deposition estimates of polycyclic aromatic compounds (PACs), including 17 polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs), 21 alkylated PAHs (alk-PAHs), and 5 dibenzothiophenes (DBTs), over the oil sands region of Alberta, Canada and surrounding communities. Gridded annual total deposition of PACs in 2011 ranged from 55 to 175 000 μg m–² yr–¹ and the mean and median fluxes were 1700 and 760 μg m–² yr–¹, respectively. The domain-wide mean dry and wet deposition were 600 and 1100 μg m–² yr–¹. PAHs, alk-PAHs and DBTs contributed 19%, 74%, and 7% to the total dry deposition, and 42%, 49%, and 9% to the total wet deposition. Dominant chemical species contributing to total deposition were naphthalene, retene and phenanthrene for PAHs and C2-benz[a]anthracene/triphenylene/chrysene, C2-fluoranthene/pyrene and C2-fluorene for alk-PAHs. The highest PAC deposition was found over the surface mineable area, which received 9 times the deposition flux of outlying areas. Additional deposition hotspots were also observed south of the surface mineable area notably over in situ bitumen production sites. The deposition of alk-PAHs impacted a more extensive area than that of PAHs or DBTs. This result suggests that atmospheric deposition is a key process in wildlife exposure to PACs across the region.