Biogeochemistry of nonylphenol ethoxylates in urban estuarine sediments.
We have examined the concentrations and distributions of nonylphenol ethoxylate (NPEO) surfactants and their primary neutral metabolites in two dated sediment cores collected in 1988 and 1996 from a depositional area proximal to a wastewater treatment plant within Jamaica Bay, NY. Total NPEO concentrations ranged from >50 microg/g near the surface (4-6 cm, deposited ca. 1990) to below detection limits (<0.1 microg/g) at 50 cm depth (deposited ca. 1940). The general decrease in NPEO concentrations with increasing depth in sediment reflected increased commercial use of these compounds over the last 50 yr. NPEO ethoxymer distributions in recent sediments were dominated by NP(0-3)EO, consistent with the increased relative input of these particular ethoxymers to the estuary following the upgrade of local biological sewage treatment processes to full activated sludge in the late 1970s. NPEO ethoxymer profiles in deeper sediments were characterized by relatively higher proportions of unmetabolized, highly ethoxylated NPEOs. Depth profiles of NP1EO and NP in the upper portion of the sediment core showed evidence for in situ diagenetic conversion of NP1EO to NP. However, comparison of NPEO concentrations in selected strata from the core collected in 1996 with those in matched strata from a core collected from the same location in 1988 provided no evidence for in situ degradation of total NPEOs during the elapsed 8 yr between collection dates.
Ferguson, PL; Bopp, RF; Chillrud, SN; Aller, RC; Brownawell, BJ
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