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Effects of hurricanes Katrina and Rita on the chemistry of bottom sediments in Lake Pontchartrain, Louisiana, USA

January 1, 2006

The effects of Hurricanes Katrina and Rita and the subsequent unwatering of New Orleans, Louisiana, on the sediment chemistry of Lake Pontchartrain were evaluated by chemical analysis of samples of street mud and suspended and bottom sediments. The highest concentrations of urban-related elements and compounds (e.g., Pb, Zn, polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, and chlordane) in bottom sediments exceeded median concentrations in U.S. urban lakes and sediment-quality guidelines. The extent of the elevated concentrations was limited, however, to within a few hundred meters of the mouth of the 17th Street Canal, similar to results of historical assessments. Chemical and radionuclide analysis of pre- and post-Hurricane Rita samples indicates that remobilization of near-shore sediment by lake currents and storms is an ongoing process. The effects of Hurricanes Katrina and Rita on the sediment chemistry of Lake Pontchartrain are limited spatially and are most likely transitory.

Citation Information

Publication Year 2006
Title Effects of hurricanes Katrina and Rita on the chemistry of bottom sediments in Lake Pontchartrain, Louisiana, USA
DOI 10.1021/es060933g
Authors P.C. Van Metre, A. J. Horowitz, B.J. Mahler, W.T. Foreman, C. C. Fuller, M.R. Burkhardt, K. A. Elrick, E.T. Furlong, S. C. Skrobialowski, J.J. Smith, J.T. Wilson, S.D. Zaugg
Publication Type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Series Title Environmental Science & Technology
Series Number
Index ID 70028543
Record Source USGS Publications Warehouse
USGS Organization Toxic Substances Hydrology Program

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