TitlePAH Accessibility in Particulate Matter from Road-Impacted Environments.
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2016
AuthorsAllan, IJ, O'Connell, SG, Meland, S, Bæk, K, Grung, M, Anderson, KA, Ranneklev, SB
JournalEnviron Sci Technol
Date Published2016 Aug 02

Snowmelt, surface runoff, or stormwater releases in urban environments can result in significant discharges of particulate matter-bound polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) into aquatic environments. Recently, more-specific activities such as road-tunnel washing have been identified as contributing to contaminant load to surface waters. However, knowledge of PAH accessibility in particulate matter (PM) of urban origin that may ultimately be released into urban surface waters is limited. In the present study, we evaluated the accessibility of PAHs associated with seven distinct (suspended) particulate matter samples collected from different urban sources. Laboratory-based infinite sink extractions with silicone rubber (SR) as the extractor phase demonstrated a similar pattern of PAH accessibility for most PM samples. Substantially higher accessible fractions were observed for the less-hydrophobic PAHs (between 40 and 80% of total concentrations) compared with those measured for the most-hydrophobic PAHs (<5% of total concentrations). When we focused on PAHs bound to PM from tunnel-wash waters, first-order desorption rates for PAHs with log Kow > 5.5 were found in line with those commonly found for slowly or very slowly desorbing sediment-associated contaminants. PAHs with log Kow < 5.5 were found at higher desorbing rates. The addition of detergents did not influence the extractability of lighter PAHs but increased desorption rates for the heavier PAHs, potentially contributing to increases in the toxicity of tunnel-wash waters when surfactants are used. The implications of total and accessible PAH concentrations measured in our urban PM samples are discussed in a context of management of PAH and PM emission to the surrounding aquatic environment. Although we only fully assessed PAHs in this work, further study should consider other contaminants such as OPAHs, which were also detected in all PM samples.

Alternate JournalEnviron. Sci. Technol.
PubMed ID27312518
Grant ListP42 ES016465 / ES / NIEHS NIH HHS / United States