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Environ Monit Assess. 2016 Nov;188(11):642. Epub 2016 Oct 27.

An assessment of butyltins and metals in sediment cores from the St. Thomas East End Reserves, USVI.

Author information

1
NOAA/National Status and Trends Program, 1305 East West Hwy. (SSMC4, N/SCI-1), Silver Spring, MD, 20910, USA. ian.hartwell@noaa.gov.
2
NOAA/National Status and Trends Program, 1305 East West Hwy. (SSMC4, N/SCI-1), Silver Spring, MD, 20910, USA.

Abstract

Tributyltin (TBT) concentrations near a marina complex in Benner Bay on St. Thomas, US Virgin Islands, were elevated relative to other areas in a larger study of the southeastern shore of the island. At the request of the USVI Coastal Zone Management Program, sediment cores and surface sediment samples were collected to better define the extent and history of TBT deposition in the vicinity of Benner Bay. The sediment cores were sectioned into 2-cm intervals and dated with 210Pb and 137Cs. The core sections and the surface samples were analyzed for butyltins and 16 elements. Deposition rates varied from 0.07-5.0 mm/year, and were highest in the marina complex. Core ages ranged from 54 to 200 years. The bottoms of the cores contained shell hash, but the top layers all consisted of much finer material. Surface concentrations of TBT exceeded 2000 ng Sn/g (dry weight) at two locations. At a depth of 8 cm TBT exceeded 8800 ng Sn/g in the marina complex sediment. Based on the ratio of tributyltin to total butyltins, it appears that the marina sediments are the source of contamination of the surrounding area. There is evidence that vessels from neighboring islands may also be a source of fresh TBT. Copper concentrations increase over time up to the present. Gradients of virtually all metals and metalloids extended away from the marina complex. NOAA sediment quality guidelines were exceeded for As, Pb, Cu, Zn, and Hg.

KEYWORDS:

Contamination; Metals; Sediment cores; Tributyltin; US Virgin Islands

PMID:
27787748
DOI:
10.1007/s10661-016-5596-5
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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