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The Scientific World Journal
Volume 2012, Article ID 828343, 11 pages
http://dx.doi.org/10.1100/2012/828343
Research Article

Fate and Transport of Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbons in Upland Irish Headwater Lake Catchments

Environmental and Resource Studies, Trent University, Peterborough, ON, Canada K9J 7B8

Received 8 October 2012; Accepted 7 November 2012

Academic Editors: Y. Shimizu and F.-L. Xu

Copyright © 2012 Heidi E. M. Scott et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

Abstract

Polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) are a concern due to their carcinogenicity and propensity for transboundary atmospheric transport. Ireland is located on the western periphery of Europe and assumed to receive clean Atlantic air. As such, it has been used as an atmospheric reference for comparison to other regions. Nonetheless, few studies have evaluated concentrations of PAHs within the Irish environment. In the current study, PAHs were measured at five upland (500–800 masl) headwater lake catchments in coastal regions around Ireland, remote from industrial point source emissions. Semipermeable membrane devices were deployed in lakes for a 6-month period in July 2009, and topsoils were sampled from each catchment during October 2010. The concentrations of PAHs were low at most study sites with respect to other temperate regions. Homologue groups partitioned between lake and soil compartments based on their molecular weight were: “lighter” substances, such as Phenanthrene and Fluorene, were found in higher proportions in lakes, whereas “heavier” compounds, such as Chrysene and Benz[a]anthracene, were more prominent in soils. Concentrations of PAHs were highest at the east coast sites, potentially due to contributions from historical transboundary and regional combustion sources.