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Modelling the fate of hydrophobic organic contaminants in a boreal forest catchment: A cross disciplinary approach to assessing diffuse pollution to surface waters

Research output: Contribution to Journal/MagazineJournal articlepeer-review

<mark>Journal publication date</mark>09/2010
<mark>Journal</mark>Environmental Pollution
Issue number9
Number of pages6
Pages (from-to)2964-2969
Publication StatusPublished
<mark>Original language</mark>English


The fate of hydrophobic organic compounds (HOCs) in soils and waters in a northern boreal catchment was explored through the development of a chemical fate model in a well-characterised catchment system dominated by two land types: forest and mire. Input was based solely on atmospheric deposition, dominated by accumulation in the winter snowpack. Release from soils was governed by the HOC concentration in soil, the soil organic carbon fraction and soil-water DOC content. The modelled export of selected HOCs in surface waters ranged between 11 and 250 ng day(-1) during the snow covered period, compared to 200 and 9600 ng/d during snow-melt; highlighting the importance of the snow pack as a source of these chemicals. The predicted levels of HOCs in surface water were in reasonable agreement to a limited set of measured values, although the model tended to over predict concentrations of HOCs for the forested sub-catchment, by over an order of magnitude in the case of hexachlorobenzene and PCB 180. This possibly reflects both the heterogeneity of the forest soils and the complicated and changing hydrology experienced between the different seasons.