Baseline and distribution of organic pollutants and heavy metals in tidal creek sediments after Hurricane Sandy in the Meadowlands of New Jersey

Francisco Artigas, Ji Meng Loh, Jin Young Shin, Joe Grzyb, Ying Yao

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations

Abstract

The relatively low cost of lands along with a privileged location near an urban center attracted industry to the Meadowlands of New Jersey and the absence of regulations resulted in vast amounts of industrial waste emitted into the air and dumped to nearby estuaries and marshlands. Hurricane Sandy created an unprecedented sea surge that overtopped berms and tide gates and extensively flooded approximately 22.8 km2 of a low lying basin that includes Berry’s Creek, a tributary to the Hackensack River and well known for its legacy of high levels of contamination. The sea surge connected Berry’s Creek with eastern creeks that flow into the Hackensack River for several tidal cycles. The objectives of this study were to establish a baseline for organic pollutants and heavy metals post Superstorm Sandy, determine whether contaminants from highly contaminated areas moved to the eastern creeks during the surge and measure contaminant gradients around tide gates. Cadmium, mercury and chromium were the most abundant contaminants in sediments, and pollutants responsible for the highest ecological risk were Hg and polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs). Concentrations of PCBs were higher in the western creeks and contrary to metals did not show concentration gradients from either side of tide gates. Massive export of contaminants from western to eastern creeks due to the surge was not apparent. The abundance of heavy metals in the vicinity of tide gates shows that they play a role in their distribution across the estuary.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number293
JournalEnvironmental Earth Sciences
Volume76
Issue number7
DOIs
StatePublished - Apr 1 2017

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Global and Planetary Change
  • Environmental Chemistry
  • Water Science and Technology
  • Soil Science
  • Pollution
  • Geology
  • Earth-Surface Processes

Keywords

  • Hurricane Sandy
  • Metals
  • Organochlorine pesticides (OCPs)
  • Polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs)
  • Tidal creek sediments

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