Source Apportionment and Distribution of Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbons, Risk Considerations, and Management Implications for Urban Stormwater Pond Sediments in Minnesota, USA

High concentrations of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) are accumulating in many urban stormwater ponds in Minnesota, resulting in either expensive disposal of the excavated sediment or deferred maintenance by economically challenged municipalities. Fifteen stormwater ponds in the Minneapolis—St. Paul, MN, metropolitan area were studied to determine sources of PAHs to bed sediments through the application of several environmental forensic techniques, including a contaminant mass balance receptor model. The model results were quite robust and indicated that coal tar-based sealant (CT-sealant) particulate washoff and dust sources were the most important sources of PAHs (67.1 %), followed by vehicle-related sources (29.5 %), and pine wood combustion particles (3.4 %). The distribution of 34 parent and alkylated PAHs was also evaluated regarding ancillary measurements of black carbon, total organic carbon, and particle size classes. None of these parameters were significantly different based on major land-use classifications (i.e., residential, commercial, and industrial) for pond watersheds. PAH contamination in three stormwater ponds was high enough to present a risk to benthic invertebrates, whereas nine ponds exceeded human health risk-based benchmarks that would prompt more expensive disposal of dredged sediment. The State of Minnesota has been addressing the broader issue of PAH-contaminated stormwater ponds by encouraging local municipalities to ban CT-sealants (29 in all) and to promote pollution prevention alternatives to businesses and homeowners, such as switching to asphalt-based sealants. A statewide CT-sealant ban was recently enacted. Other local and regional jurisdictions may benefit from using Minnesota's approach where CT-sealants are still used.
Date Issued
Journal Title
Archives of Environmental Contamination and Toxicology
Associated Organization
Springer US (New York, New York)
Rights Holder
ringer Science+Business Media New York 2013
Rights Management
Do Not Have Copyright Permission