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Temporal variation in the deposition of polycyclic aromatic compounds in snow in the Athabasca Oil Sands area of Alberta

Environmental Monitoring and Assessment 188(9): 542-542
Temporal variation in the deposition of polycyclic aromatic compounds in snow in the Athabasca Oil Sands area of Alberta
Atmospheric deposition of polycyclic aromatic compounds (PACs) via and onto snow, and their releasing during spring snowmelt has been a concern in the Athabasca Oil Sands Region of Alberta. This study was designed to evaluate the concentrations, loadings, and distribution of PACs in springtime snowpack and how they have changed since the first study in 2008. Snowpack samples were collected in late winters 2011-2014 at varying distances from the main developments. PAC concentration and deposition declined exponentially with distance, with pyrenes, chrysenes, and dibenzothiophenes dominating the distribution within the first 50 km. The distribution of PACs was different between sites located close to upgraders and others located close to mining facilities. Overall, PAC loadings were correlated with priority pollutant elements and water chemistry parameters, while wind direction and speed were not strong contributors to the variability observed. Total PAC mass deposition during winter months and within the first 50 km was initially estimated by integrating the exponential decay function fitted through the data using a limited number of sites from 2011 to 2014: 1236 kg (2011), 1800 kg (2012), 814 kg (2013), and 1367 (2014). Total loadings were estimated to have a twofold increase between 2008 and 2014, although the increase observed was not constant. Finally, kriging interpolation is presented as an alternative and more robust approach to estimate PAC mass deposition in the area. After a more intensive sampling campaign in 2014, the PAC mass deposition was estimated to be 1968 kg.

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Accession: 058982871

PMID: 27581009

DOI: 10.1007/s10661-016-5500-3

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