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Keywords:

  • modeling/statistics;
  • nonpoint source pollution;
  • urban hydrology;
  • streambed sediments

ABSTRACT: Concentrations of 18 hydrophobic chlorinated organic compounds in streambed sediments from 100 sites throughout New Jersey were examined to determine (1) which compounds were detected most frequently, (2) whether detection frequencies differed among selected drainage basins, and (3) whether concentrations differed significantly among selected drainage basins. Twelve drainage basins across New Jersey that contain a range of land-use patterns and population densities were selected to represent various types and degrees of development. To ensure an adequate number of samples for statistical comparison among drainage basins, the 12 selected basins were consolidated into seven drainage areas on the basis of similarities in land-use patterns and population densities. Additionally, data for three classes of chlorinated organic compounds in streambed sediments from 255 sites throughout New Jersey were examined to determine whether the presence of these compounds in streambed sediments is related to the type and degree of development within the drainage area of each sampling site.

Chlorinated organic compounds detected most frequently within the seven representative drainage areas were DDT, DDE, DDD, chlordane, dieldrin, and PCBs. DDT, DDE, and DDD, which were the most widely distributed organic compounds, were detected in about 60 to 100 percent of the samples from all drainage areas but one (where the detection rate for these compounds was about 20 to 40 percent). Chiordane and dieldrin were detected in about 80 to 100 percent of samples from highly urbanized and populated drainage areas; detection frequencies for these compounds tended to be smaller in less developed and populated areas. PCBs were detected in about 40 to 85 percent of samples from all drainage areas; detection frequencies were highest in the most heavily developed and populated areas.

Analysis of variance on rank-transformed organic compound concentrations normalized to sediment organic carbon content was used to evaluate differences in concentrations among the seven representative drainage areas. Chlordane and PCBs were the chlorinated organic compounds with the most highly elevated concentrations in streambed sediments across the State. Median normalized concentrations of all six of the most frequently detected chlorinated organic compounds were highest in the most heavily urbanized and populated drainage area and lowest in the less populated, predominantly agricultural or forested areas. Concentrations of DDT and DDE, however, did not differ significantly among most of the drainage areas. Concentrations of DDD, chlordane, dieldrin, and PCBs differed significantly among drainage areas. The highest median normalized concentrations were found in samples from the most heavily urbanized and populated areas, and the lowest were in samples from the least developed, most heavily forested area.

Logistic regression was used to examine relations between the presence of hydrophobic chlorinated organic compounds in streambed sediments at specified concentrations and variables that characterize the type and degree of development within the drainage areas of 255 sites across New Jersey. The explanatory variables found most useful for predicting the presence of chlorinated organic compounds in streambed sediments include total population and amounts (in square kilometers) of various land-use categories. Logistic regression equations were developed to identify significant relations between population and amounts of specific land-use categories within drainage areas and the probability of detecting chlorinated organic contaminants in streambed sediments. These relations can be used to assist in the identification of geographic regions of primary concern for contamination of bed sediments by chlorinated organic compounds across the State.