Water Resources Research Act Program

Details for Project ID 2012NH165B

Determining the Impact of Coal Tar Based Driveway Sealant on Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbon Concentrations in NH Waterbodies.

Institute: New Hampshire
Year Established: 2012 Start Date: 2012-03-01 End Date: 2013-02-28
Total Federal Funds: $9,967 Total Non-Federal Funds: $13,249

Principal Investigators: Alison Watts

Abstract: Coal-tar-based pavement sealant has been identified as a source of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) to the environment. Recent studies have indicated that PAHs in lake sediments at numerous locations throughout the country are increasing. Contaminant Mass Balance (CMB) modeling indicates that the primary source of increasing concentrations may be coal-tar-based sealant. The proposed study will combine existing PAH data sets with new sample information to determine if coal-tar-sealant is contributing to increased PAH concentrations in lakes, streams and estuaries in New Hampshire. Existing data from the NH Great Bay region will be used to build a CMB model which utilizes published PAH source data to apportion source profiles in each sample data set. Existing data includes EPAs Coastal Monitoring Program, NH DES Databases, and samples previously collected and analyzed by the PIs. This information will be used to determine if sealant use is impacting PAH concentrations in Great Bay sediments. Additional samples will be collected in lakes and streams in urban and suburban regions, and the CMB source apportionment will be used to determine if sealants are impacting lakes and streams in New Hampshire, and to quantify the extent of that impact. The results of this study will be used to inform management and education decisions with regards to the use of coal-tar-based sealant.