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1 September 2007 Spatial Distributions and Temporal Trends in Sediment Contamination in Lake St. Clair
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Abstract

The sediments of Lake St. Clair were surveyed in 2001 for a range of compound classes including metals (such as total mercury and lead), polychlorinated biphenyls, polychlorinated dibenzo-p-dioxins and dibenzofurans, organochlorine pesticides, polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, and short- and medium-chain chlorinated paraffins, in order to evaluate the spatial distribution and temporal trends of contamination. Concentrations of contaminants were generally low compared to the lower Great Lakes (Erie and Ontario), and were typically below the Canadian Sediment Quality Probable Effect Level (PEL) guidelines. The only exceptions were for mercury and DDE, where concentrations exceeded their respective PEL at one of the thirty-four sites sampled. With the exception of mercury, it was difficult to interpret spatial trends in contaminant concentrations due to these low levels, although relatively elevated concentrations of several contaminants were found in L'Anse Creuse Bay and at the outflow of the Thames River. In the case of mercury, historically-contaminated sediments in the St. Clair River associated with chloralkali production appeared to contribute to loadings to Lake St. Clair. There have been substantial reductions in sediment contamination in Lake St. Clair over the past three decades, as determined through sediment core profiles as well as through comparison of current data to those from historical surveys conducted in the early 1970s. These results indicate that management actions to reduce contaminant loadings to Lake St. Clair have been generally successful.

Sarah B. Gewurtz, Paul A. Helm, Jasmine Waltho, Gary A. Stern, Eric J. Reiner, Scott Painter, and Christopher H. Marvin "Spatial Distributions and Temporal Trends in Sediment Contamination in Lake St. Clair," Journal of Great Lakes Research 33(3), (1 September 2007). https://doi.org/10.3394/0380-1330(2007)33[668:SDATTI]2.0.CO;2
Received: 18 October 2006; Accepted: 31 May 2007; Published: 1 September 2007
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