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U.S. GEOLOGICAL SURVEY
Scientific Investigations Report 2004-5045


Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbons in Bottom Sediment and Bioavailability in Streams in the New River Gorge National River and Gauley River National Recreation Area, West Virginia, 2002

By: Terence Messinger

ABSTRACT

Polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs), including some on the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's priority pollutant list, were found in bottom sediment in streams in the coal-producing region of the Kanawha River Basin in 1996-1998, and in and near the New River Gorge National River in 2002, in concentrations exceeding those thought likely to cause adverse effects to wildlife. Very low concentrations of bioavailable PAHs were measured in streams in and near the New River Gorge National River by the use of semipermeable membrane devices. The apparent contradiction between the high concentrations of total PAHs and the low concentrations of bioavailable PAHs may result from the presence of a substantial amount of particulate coal in bottom sediment.

TABLE OF CONTENTS

Abstract

Introduction

Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbons

Purpose and Scope

Description of study area

Acknowledgments

Data Collection and Study Design

Bottom Sediment

Semipermeable Membrane Devices

PAHs in Bottom Sediment in Kanawha River Basin Streams, 1996-2002

Kanawha River Basin Reconnaissance Study, 1996-1997

Regional Coal-Mining Study, 1998

New River Gorge and Gauley River National Recreation Area Study, 2002

Possible Sources of PAHs in Bottom Sediment

PAH Bioavailability in New River Gorge National River and Gauley River National Recreation Area streams, 2002

Summary and Conclusions

Literature Cited

FIGURES

1–2.   Maps showing:

1. Sampling sites, selected streams, towns, and national parks in the Kanawha River Basin, West Virginia

2. Coal mines in the Kanawha River Basin, and coal mines, selected streams, and sampling sites in and near the New River Gorge National River, West Virginia

TABLES

1. Sampling sites in the Kanawha River Basin, West Virginia, and their map numbers, station numbers,and years sampled

2. Deployment dates and durations for semipermeable membrane devices

3. Probable effects level (PEL) and threshold effects level (TEL) for 12 polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons

4. Polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbon concentrations measured in fine bottom sediment at selected sites in coal-mining areas in the Kanawha River Basin in West Virginia, in July 1998

5. Polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbon concentrations in fine stream-bottom sediment at selected sites in the New River Gorge National River and Gauley River National Recreation Area, West Virginia, in 1996 and July 2002

6. Polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbon concentrations measured in semipermeable membrane devices in streams in the New River Gorge National River and Gauley River National Recreation Area, 2002

7. Maximum polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbon (PAH) concentrations measured in semipermeable membrane devices (SPMDs) in streams managed by the National Park Service in West Virginia in 2002, with the lowest dissolved concentrations at which the PAHs had significant adverse biological effects, and estimates of the concentrations those PAHs would reach in SPMDs under exposure to the stated dissolved concentration at 20 degrees C for the time the SPMD was deployed

8. Maximum observed polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbon (PAH) concentration in semipermeable membrane devices (SPMDs), threshold concentration at which acute toxic effects were observed in aquatic vertebrates and invertebrates, and maximum exposure times under ideal uptake conditions for the observed concentrations in the SPMDs to be reached in a solution at the threshold concentration of the PAH

VERTICAL DATUM

Vertical coordinate information is referenced to the National Geodetic Vertical Datum of 1929 (NGVD 29). Altitude, as used in the report, refers to distance above or below NGVD 29. NGVD 29 can be converted to the North American Vertical Datum of 1988 (NAVD 88) by using the National Geodetic Survey conversion utility available at URL http://www.ngs.noaa.gov/TOOLS/Vertcon/vertcon.html.

 


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For more information about USGS activities in West Virginia contact:

District Chief

U.S. Geological Survey

Water Resources Discipline

11 Dunbar Street

Charleston, West Virginia 25301

Telephone: (304) 347-5130

Fax: (304) 347-5133





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