Skip to main content
U.S. flag

An official website of the United States government

Influence of coal-tar sealcoat and other carbonaceous materials on polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbon loading in an urban watershed

January 1, 2010

Carbonaceous material (CM) particles are the principal vectors transporting polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) into urban waters via runoff; however, characteristics of CM particles in urban watersheds and their relative contributions to PAH contamination remain unclear. Our objectives were to identify the sources and distribution of CM particles in an urban watershed and to determine the types of CMs that were the dominant sources of PAHs in the lake and stream sediments. Samples of soils, parking lot and street dust, and streambed and lake sediment were collected from the Lake Como watershed in Fort Worth, Texas. Characteristics of CM particles determined by organic petrography and a significant correlation between PAH concentrations and organic carbon in coal tar, asphalt, and soot indicate that these three CM particle types are the major sources and carriers of PAHs in the watershed. Estimates of the distribution of PAHs in CM particles indicate that coal-tar pitch, usedinsomepavementsealcoats, isadominant source of PAHs in the watershed, and contributes as much as 99% of the PAHs in sealed parking lot dust, 92% in unsealed parking lot dust, 88% in commercial area soil, 71% in streambed sediment, and 84% in surficial lake sediment. ?? 2010 American Chemical Society.