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Contaminated organic sediments of anthropogenic origin: impact on coastal environments
Uppsala universitet, Teknisk-naturvetenskapliga vetenskapsområdet, Geovetenskapliga sektionen, Institutionen för geovetenskaper, Naturresurser och hållbar utveckling. Geological Survey of Sweden.ORCID-id: 0000-0001-6444-3968
2021 (engelsk)Doktoravhandling, med artikler (Annet vitenskapelig)
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.

sted, utgiver, år, opplag, sider
Uppsala: Acta Universitatis Upsaliensis, 2021. , s. 76
Serie
Digital Comprehensive Summaries of Uppsala Dissertations from the Faculty of Science and Technology, ISSN 1651-6214 ; 1997
Emneord [en]
Fiberbank, fiber-rich sediment, metals, persistent organic pollutants, pore water, bottom water, dispersal, sorption, pulp and paper, chemostratigraphy, Anthropocene
HSV kategori
Forskningsprogram
Naturresurser och hållbar utveckling
Identifikatorer
URN: urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-427739ISBN: 978-91-513-1094-7 (tryckt)OAI: oai:DiVA.org:uu-427739DiVA, id: diva2:1508845
Disputas
2021-02-12, Hambergssalen, Villavägen 16, Uppsala, 09:00 (engelsk)
Opponent
Veileder
Forskningsfinansiär
Swedish Research Council Formas, 214-2014-63The Geological Survey of Sweden (SGU), 362-1493/2013The Geological Survey of Sweden (SGU), 411-1578/2013Tilgjengelig fra: 2021-01-22 Laget: 2020-12-10 Sist oppdatert: 2021-03-04
Delarbeid
1. Distribution and dispersal of metals in contaminated fibrous sediments of industrial origin
Åpne denne publikasjonen i ny fane eller vindu >>Distribution and dispersal of metals in contaminated fibrous sediments of industrial origin
2019 (engelsk)Inngår i: Chemosphere, ISSN 0045-6535, E-ISSN 1879-1298, Vol. 215, s. 470-481Artikkel i tidsskrift (Fagfellevurdert) 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.

Emneord
fiberbank, fiber-rich sediments, metals, bottom water, pore water, sorption
HSV kategori
Forskningsprogram
Geovetenskap med inriktning mot miljöanalys
Identifikatorer
urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-363220 (URN)10.1016/j.chemosphere.2018.10.010 (DOI)000450383400052 ()30340155 (PubMedID)
Forskningsfinansiär
Swedish Research Council Formas, 214-2014-63The Geological Survey of Sweden (SGU), 362-1493/2013The Geological Survey of Sweden (SGU), 411-1578/2013
Tilgjengelig fra: 2018-10-15 Laget: 2018-10-15 Sist oppdatert: 2020-12-10bibliografisk kontrollert
2. Persistent organic pollutants in wood fiber–contaminated sediments from the Baltic Sea
Åpne denne publikasjonen i ny fane eller vindu >>Persistent organic pollutants in wood fiber–contaminated sediments from the Baltic Sea
Vise andre…
2020 (engelsk)Inngår i: Journal of Soils and Sediments, ISSN 1439-0108, E-ISSN 1614-7480, Vol. 20, nr 5, s. 2471-2483Artikkel i tidsskrift (Fagfellevurdert) Published
Abstract [en]

Many coastal areas in the Baltic Sea are contaminated with wood fiber and pollutants from pulp and paper industries. These anthropogenic, organic-rich, sediments (fiberbanks) have not been characterized and knowledge about their role as secondary sources for dispersal of persistent organic pollutants (POPs) is limited. Hence, the aim of this study was to elucidate the fate of POPs and the relationships between sorption (KD and KTOC), sediment type, and compound hydrophobicity (KOW) in fiber-contaminated sediments.

Emneord
Chlorinated pollutants, Fibrous sediment, Organic carbon, Pore water, Pulp and paper emissions
HSV kategori
Identifikatorer
urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-419473 (URN)10.1007/s11368-020-02610-6 (DOI)
Tilgjengelig fra: 2020-09-11 Laget: 2020-09-11 Sist oppdatert: 2020-12-10bibliografisk kontrollert
3. Dispersal of cellulose fibers and metals from contaminated sediments of industrial origin in an estuary
Åpne denne publikasjonen i ny fane eller vindu >>Dispersal of cellulose fibers and metals from contaminated sediments of industrial origin in an estuary
2020 (engelsk)Inngår i: Environmental Pollution, ISSN 0269-7491, E-ISSN 1873-6424, Vol. 266, nr 3, artikkel-id 115182Artikkel i tidsskrift (Fagfellevurdert) Published
Abstract [en]

The boreal forest’s pulp and paper industry plays a major role in economic prosperity but, historically, caused an environmental burden. Remnants of discharges of contaminated suspended solids (fiberbanks) are continuously being discovered on the beds of shallow seas, rivers and lakes in the northern hemisphere. We investigated the dispersion of Cd, Cr, Cu, Hg, Ni, Pb and Zn from deeper to surficial layers in fiberbanks in a Swedish estuary and the larger-scale transport of the same metals to distal areas of sediment accumulation. We also tested the C:N ratio as a common denominator for these anthropogenic, cellulose-rich deposits. Sampling and analyses of three fiberbanks located in the inner part of the estuary and from sediment accumulation sites outside and along the estuary reveals that metal concentrations are regressing to background levels towards the surface at the accumulation sites. The fiberbanks show a higher degree of contamination and C:N ratios demonstrate inclusion of cellulose fibers. C:N ratios also indicate that there is currently no significant transport of fiberbank material into the distal areas. A ∼10 cm natural cap of recently settled fine-grained sediment covering one of the fiberbanks seems to prevent metals dispersing into overlying water whereas the other two fiberbanks show signs of metal enrichment and potential mercury methylation in surficial layers. Although the estuarine system seems to recover from the impact of industrial waste, there is no evidence that the fiberbanks will be remediated naturally but instead will continue to threaten the aquatic environment.

Emneord
Fiberbank, Fiber-impacted sediments, Metals, C:N ratios, Anthropogenic sediments
HSV kategori
Identifikatorer
urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-419474 (URN)10.1016/j.envpol.2020.115182 (DOI)000571853900011 ()32673976 (PubMedID)
Forskningsfinansiär
The Geological Survey of Sweden (SGU), 362-1493/2013
Tilgjengelig fra: 2020-10-06 Laget: 2020-10-06 Sist oppdatert: 2020-12-10bibliografisk kontrollert
4. The Anthropocene in the northern Baltic Sea – the case of contaminated fiberbanks and implications for sustainable development
Åpne denne publikasjonen i ny fane eller vindu >>The Anthropocene in the northern Baltic Sea – the case of contaminated fiberbanks and implications for sustainable development
(engelsk)Manuskript (preprint) (Annet vitenskapelig)
Abstract [en]

The epoch of humankind, the Anthropocene, is usually characterized by the global gaze, which places its focus on global environmental phenomena i.e. global warming and ocean acidification. In this article we argue that the Anthropocene could be better understood with a cross-scalar perspective and present the case of anthropogenic contaminated “fiberbanks” as an example. We present a geological example of the Anthropocene in a Swedish river estuary in the northern Baltic Sea, which hosted nine P&P mills along its’ shores and received large amounts of metal containing wastewater during the 20th century. As a result of the great acceleration and an increased national and global demand for pulp and paper products these fiberbanks formed in shallow waters. As artificial seabed features these thick deposits of contaminated organic-rich material negatively affect the adjacent aquatic environment. By constructing a chemostratigraphy based on sediment cores from accumulation areas and a metal pollution index we show how the aquatic system has recovered from metal pollution. We note, however, that the established stratigraphy fails to identify the fiberbanks, which remain in the shallow zones and are contaminant hotspots. In Sweden, there is an insufficient knowledge of contaminated sediments for a sustainable water and marine management. This knowledge gap in combination with human induced climate changes that may chemically and physically affect sediments and thus, alter dispersion of imbedded pollutants, results in poor understanding and long-term perception of the risks of contaminant dispersion from fiberbanks. We claim that these gaps of knowledge must be filled in order to reach an effective conservation at the same time as a sustainable blue growth in the northern Baltic Sea.

Emneord
Anthropocene, fiberbanks, pulp and paper industry, chemostratigraphy, water and marine management, sustainable development
HSV kategori
Forskningsprogram
Naturresurser och hållbar utveckling
Identifikatorer
urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-427736 (URN)
Tilgjengelig fra: 2020-12-10 Laget: 2020-12-10 Sist oppdatert: 2020-12-10

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