PCDD/F release during benthic trawler-induced sediment resuspension



Benthic trawling can cause the resuspension of large amounts of sediments. Such regular practice in the Grenland fjord system in the south of Norway has the potential to affect the fate, movement, and bioavailability of sediment-associated polychlorinated dibenzo-p-dioxins and dibenzofurans (PCDD/Fs). A novel mode of exposing passive sampling devices consisting of towing semipermeable membrane devices attached to the trawl net was used to gauge in situ changes in the freely dissolved concentration of PCDD/Fs on benthic trawler–induced sediment resuspension. Significant accumulation of a number of PCDD/F congeners was observed despite the short (5 h) sampler exposure times. On average, a one order of magnitude increase in freely dissolved PCCD/F concentrations was seen within minutes of the sediment being resuspended. This observation was supported by similar changes in filtered PCDD/F concentrations measured by high-volume sampling prior to resuspension and in the sediment plume. Environ. Toxicol. Chem. 2012; 31: 2780–2787. © 2012 SETAC