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Amendment of sediments with a carbonaceous resin reduces bioavailability of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons



We evaluated the effectiveness of Amersorbb®, a carbonaceous resin, in reducing bioavailability of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) in contaminated sediments collected from the field. In laboratory studies, sediment pore-water concentrations of eight unsubstituted PAHs were significantly decreased after resin addition. Reduced PAH concentrations in oligochaete tissues from a laboratory bioaccumulation test, along with increased survival/reproduction and reduced photo-enhanced toxicity and sediment avoidance, also resulted from sediment treatment with Ambersorb. Resin amendment also decreased pore-water PAH concentrations in field deployed sediments but did not improve benthic invertebrate colonization. Prediction of partitioning of PAHs between solid and aqueous phases in the test sediments was complicated by the presence of coal and soot. However, accurate predictions of bioavailability were achieved based on pore-water chemistry. Overall, these studies show that the addition of high affinity sorbents effectively reduces pore-water PAH concentrations and bioavailability and suggests that sorbent addition may serve as an option for in situ remediation of some contaminated sediments.