A Regional Screening Method for Classifying Pollutant Status of Coastal Waters

by Carolyn T. Hunsaker, Oak Ridge Natl Lab, Oak Ridge, TN, USA,
Marian V. Huq, Oak Ridge Natl Lab, Oak Ridge, TN, USA,
S. Marshall Adams, Oak Ridge Natl Lab, Oak Ridge, TN, USA,

Document Type: Proceeding Paper

Part of: Coastal Zone '87


A regional assessment method has been developed to classify estuaries on the basis of their pollution severity, enabling resource managers to prioritize clean-up and future research efforts. The method is based on two key components for each pollutant of interest: an estimate of the pollutant's loading rates into an estuary or region, and information regarding its fate and effects in the environment. Surface water and atmospheric inputs of pollutants are examined. Methods to quantify the uncertainty factors associated with these estimates are suggested. A demonstration of the assessment method focuses on polychlorinated biphenyls as a representative pollutant and on Winyah Bay, South Carolina, as a specific estuarine system. Further research to quantify the effects of environmental processes such as sorption, sedimentation, and volatilization would allow expansion and refinement of the model to permit more accurate estimates of pollutant concentrations.

Subject Headings: Pollutants | Sea water | Water pollution | Model accuracy | Environmental issues | Load tests | Pollution | Managers | South Carolina | United States

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