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Distribution and dispersal of metals in contaminated fibrous sediments of industrial origin
Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Science and Technology, Earth Sciences, Department of Earth Sciences, Natural Resources and Sustainable Development. Geological Survey of Sweden.ORCID iD: 0000-0001-6444-3968
Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Science and Technology, Earth Sciences, Department of Earth Sciences, Natural Resources and Sustainable Development.ORCID iD: 0000-0002-6257-3088
Swedish Geotechnical Institute.
Geological Survey of Sweden.
2019 (English)In: Chemosphere, ISSN 0045-6535, E-ISSN 1879-1298, Vol. 215, p. 470-481Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Industrial emissions can impact aquatic environments and unregulated discharges from pulp and paper factories have resulted in deposits of cellulose fiber along the Swedish coast. These deposits are contaminated by metals, but due to their unique fibrous character the extent of sorption and dispersal of the metals is unclear. Fibrous sediments were sampled at two sites in the Ångermanälven river estuary, Sweden. The partitioning of metals between the sediment, pore water and bottom water was investigated and the degree of bioavailability was evaluated. The levels of metals in the sediment were high in fibrous or offshore samples, depending on the metal, whereas the levels of dissolved metals in pore water were low or below the limit of quantification. Partition coefficients (KD) showed that sorption to the sediment was stronger at one of the fibrous sites, possibly related to the type and size of organic matter. Undisturbed bottom water samples contained low levels of both dissolved and particle bound metals, but when comparing measured metal concentrations to threshold values of ecological status and ecotoxicological assessment criteria, both sediments and bottom water may be detrimental to living organisms. In-situ re-suspension experiments showed that the concentrations of particle bound metals increased whereas the dissolved concentrations decreased. The analyzed metals are probably retained by the solid phases of the fibrous sediment or adsorbed to particles in the water, reducing their bioavailability.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2019. Vol. 215, p. 470-481
Keywords [en]
fiberbank, fiber-rich sediments, metals, bottom water, pore water, sorption
National Category
Environmental Sciences
Research subject
Earth Science with specialization in Environmental Analysis
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-363220DOI: 10.1016/j.chemosphere.2018.10.010ISI: 000450383400052PubMedID: 30340155OAI: oai:DiVA.org:uu-363220DiVA, id: diva2:1255869
Funder
Swedish Research Council Formas, 214-2014-63The Geological Survey of Sweden (SGU), 362-1493/2013The Geological Survey of Sweden (SGU), 411-1578/2013Available from: 2018-10-15 Created: 2018-10-15 Last updated: 2020-12-10Bibliographically approved
In thesis
1. Contaminated organic sediments of anthropogenic origin: impact on coastal environments
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Contaminated organic sediments of anthropogenic origin: impact on coastal environments
2021 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

The Baltic Sea is negatively affected by legacy pollutants such as metals and persistent organic pollutants (POPs) that are known to have adverse effects on living organisms, including, humans and were banned decades ago. This thesis addresses the dispersal of these pollutants from heavily contaminated, cellulose-rich sediments of industrial origin in the Ångermanälven river estuary in northern Sweden. Relatively thick deposits, known as fiberbanks, in the studied area derive from historical wastewater emissions from the pulp and paper industry (P&PI) that began in the 19th century. These fiberbanks formed on shallow seabeds, where they currently remain. In addition, extensive areas of the deeper seabed are covered by fiber-rich sediments. The fiberbanks contain higher levels of pollutants than the fiber-rich sediments and the sediments less affected by P&PI emissions, and the fiberbank concentrations may be of ecotoxicological concern. Metals and POPs were found to be strongly partitioned to organic material and partitioning coefficients were higher in fiberbanks that contain elevated levels of organic matter. Metals and POPs were detectable in sampled pore water, even if low sediment-water fluxes of metals were expected. Metal contaminant concentrations in sampled bottom water were measured before and after resuspension of underlying sediments, which showed that concentrations of particle bound metals dominated over dissolved forms. One out of three studied fiberbank sites was covered with a natural capping layer that probably shields the water column from metals in the deposit underneath. Studies of geological archives in the form of sediment cores show the rise and fall of an anthropogenic industrial era and the recovery of an aquatic system, but the established chemostratigraphy fails to reveal the current hotspots (fiberbanks) that will stay for decades to come. The potential impacts of climate change and isostatic land uplift are factors that complicate the long-term risk assessment of fiberbanks. These knowledge gaps combined with the lack of a common risk assessment strategy for contaminated sediments hinder the achievement of national quality objectives (NQOs) and fulfillment of Agenda 2030 goals. Fiberbanks resulted from an accelerating global demand for paper products and hence, the issue of these artificial seabed forms is an example of how the geological epoch of humankind, the Anthropocene, can be viewed in a cross-scalar perspective and be important in the management of a sustainable future in the Baltic Sea region.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Uppsala: Acta Universitatis Upsaliensis, 2021. p. 76
Series
Digital Comprehensive Summaries of Uppsala Dissertations from the Faculty of Science and Technology, ISSN 1651-6214 ; 1997
Keywords
Fiberbank, fiber-rich sediment, metals, persistent organic pollutants, pore water, bottom water, dispersal, sorption, pulp and paper, chemostratigraphy, Anthropocene
National Category
Other Earth and Related Environmental Sciences
Research subject
Natural Resources and Sustainable Development
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-427739 (URN)978-91-513-1094-7 (ISBN)
Public defence
2021-02-12, Hambergssalen, Villavägen 16, Uppsala, 09:00 (English)
Opponent
Supervisors
Funder
Swedish Research Council Formas, 214-2014-63The Geological Survey of Sweden (SGU), 362-1493/2013The Geological Survey of Sweden (SGU), 411-1578/2013
Available from: 2021-01-22 Created: 2020-12-10 Last updated: 2021-03-04

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