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Sedimentary transport and fate of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAH) from managed burning of moorland vegetation on a blanket peat, South Yorkshire, UK

Vane, Christopher H.; Rawlins, Barry G.; Kim, Alexander W.; Moss-Hayes, Vicky; Kendrick, Christopher P.; Leng, Melanie J.. 2013 Sedimentary transport and fate of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAH) from managed burning of moorland vegetation on a blanket peat, South Yorkshire, UK. Science of The Total Environment, 449. 81-94. 10.1016/j.scitotenv.2013.01.043

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Abstract/Summary

This study reports the concentrations of 18 polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAH) from managed burning of moorland vegetation and compares them to PAH in catchment vegetation, underlying peats, head water suspended sediment (HSS), stream water and reservoir sediment cores. Total PAH ranged from 203 to 11,112 μg/kg in the blanket peats, 101–290 μg/kg in the fresh moorland vegetation, 4186 μg/kg at the burnt site, 17,439 μg/kg in the HSS, 56 ng/L in the stream water and 987 to 7346 μg/kg in the reservoir sediments. No total or individual PAH concentrations exceeded the published sediment quality guidelines. The perylene content of selected moorland vegetation (sphagnum, heather and bilberry) ranged from 10 to 18% as compared to only 2% for the sediment hosted PAH. A comparison of whole and < 250 μm fractions from the burnt surface layer revealed a near threefold increase in PAH concentration in the fine fraction and a change in the PAH distribution such that naphthalene > > phenanthrene > 2-methylnaphthalene. Elevated total PAH contents were observed close to the blanket peat sediment surface (0–10 cm) and then declined at greater depths. The high PAH content of the HSS was attributed to the high sorption capacity of the organic-rich particles (TOC 25.8% (wt/wt)). The distribution of individual PAH in reservoir cores and HSS was consistent and the results of the principal component analysis and isomeric ratios suggest mainly pyrolytic inputs, from either vegetation burning and coal combustion. A comparison of the reservoir core PAH profiles shows that the source(s) have remained largely unchanged since the reservoir construction in 1929 A.D. reflecting consistent moorland management practices.

Item Type: Publication - Article
Digital Object Identifier (DOI): 10.1016/j.scitotenv.2013.01.043
ISSN: 00489697
Date made live: 25 Feb 2013 13:35 +0 (UTC)
URI: http://nora.nerc.ac.uk/id/eprint/500134

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