Pollutant Concentration in Runoff at McMurdo Station, Antarctica
ENGINEER RESEARCH AND DEVELOPMENT CENTER HANOVER NH COLD REGIONS RESEARCH AND ENGINEERING LAB
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Accidental spills and chemical contamination from leaking fuel and materials lubricants, paints, etc. at McMurdo Station have caused environmental concerns, and snowmelt runoff may tend to transport these contaminants. Therefore, the objective of our study was to quantify the pollutant types and levels in the runoff throughout a season. To understand what types of analytes were present and being carried by the runoff into Winter Quarters Bay, we collected water samples from the runoff at major flow arteries at McMurdo Station six times during various flow events in austral summer 2010 2011. Pollutants analyzed included heavy metals, polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons PAHs, total hydrocarbons, and volatile organic compounds. Results showed that concentrations for heavy metals were elevated during the first flush when flow began in receiving channels where significant operational or day-to-day activities occurred. In other places, elevated values occurred during the first significant flow and the concentrations for selected PAHs were elevated during the first peak flow. Given that the snowmelt runoff contained significant concentration of heavy metals and certain PAHs, some of which were above the thresholds for chronic limits for aquatic water quality in saltwater, prevention and mitigation are crucial for reducing contamination at McMurdo Station.
- Physical Chemistry
- Hydrology, Limnology and Potamology
- Water Pollution and Control