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E-M:/ Aquatic Pollutants Follow Sprawl

For those of you fighting urban sprawl in Michigan and Wisconsin, another impact to consider:

"Urban Sprawl Leaves Its PAH Signature"

Peter C. Van Metre,* Barbara J. Mahler, and Edward T. Furlong

Environ. Sci. Technol., 34 (19), 4064 -4070, 2000
"The increasing vehicle traffic associated with urban sprawl in the United States is frequently linked to degradation of air quality, but its effect on aquatic sediment is less well-recognized. This study evaluates trends in PAHs, a group of contaminants with multiple urban sources, in sediment cores from 10 reservoirs and lakes in six U.S. metropolitan areas. The watersheds chosen represent a range in degree and age of urbanization. Concentrations of PAHs in all 10 reservoirs and lakes increased during the past 20-40 years. PAH contamination of the most recently deposited sediment at all sites exceeded sediment-quality guidelines established by Environment Canada, in some cases by several orders of magnitude.  . . .  The increase in PAH concentrations tracks closely with increases in automobile use, even in watersheds that have not undergone substantial changes in urban land-use levels since the 1970s. "
Happy New Year,
David J. Zaber
Western Lakes Wildlife Center