Document Type



Virginia Institute of Marine Science

Publication Date



Organic pollutants pose a haz.ard to living resources of the Chesapeake Bay and elsewhere. P AHs and other compounds present in creosote are major contaminants of concern. Polychlorinated terphenyls (PCTs), PCB-like compounds, have also been detected in high concentrations in sediments from several areas. Fates of these toxic compounds in-situ are poorly understood. In this study the impacts of physical processes operating in a tidal creek on the fate of creosote constituents (i.e. P AHs and heterocyclics) and PCTs were examined. Two representative sediments ( a coarse/low organic carbon (LOC) and a fine, high organic carbon (HOC)) were fortified with creosote and PCT formulations 5432 and 5460. Pollutant fortified sediments and unspiked controls were placed in the: 1) subtidal; 2) intertidal; and 3) epitidal zones of a southeastern VA tidal creek and permitted to weather under ambient conditions for 33 days. Sealed, UV-protected and unspiked treatments were also deployed. Water extractable fractions (WEFs) generated from these sediments were chemically characterized and tested for acute toxicity using the bacterial luminescence assay Microtox. WEFs were examined, as the water solubilized components have been found responsible for the majority of toxic effects associated with contaminated sediments. Examination of WEF composition also provides valuable information on contaminant behavior and fate.


Organic water pollutants -- Environmental aspects, Creosote -- Environmental aspects, Estuarine sediments -- Environmental aspects