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Ambio. 2003 Sep;32(6):406-11.

The impact of an urban-industrial region on the magnitude and variability of persistent organic pollutant deposition to Lake Michigan.

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Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, University of Iowa, Iowa City 52242, USA.


A predictive model for gas-phase PCBs and trans-nonachlor over Lake Michigan has been constructed and the resulting data examined for trends. In this paper, we describe the model results to show how the magnitude and variability of a plume of contaminants from the Chicago area contributes to a highly variable region of net contaminant deposition over the entire lake. For the whole lake, gross annual deposition of PCBs is approximately 3200 kg, although the net annual gas exchange is not significantly different from zero. The data-driven model illustrates that on a daily basis, the net exchange of persistent organic pollutants (POPs) can change from net deposition to net volatilization depending on the area of plume impact. These findings suggest that i) control of urban areas can accelerate the rate of volatilization from lakes; and ii) release of POPs from urban areas is largely a result of volatilization processes.

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