Circulation and Contaminant Transport in Massachusetts Coastal WatersEntry ID: gomc_162
Abstract: U.S. Geological Survey studies show that the concentrations of metals
in surface sediments of Boston Harbor are decreasing with time. This conclusion
is supported by analysis of (1) surface sediments collected at monitoring
stations in the outer harbor between 1977 and 1993, (2) sediment cores from
depositional areas of the harbor, and (3) historical data from a
contaminated-sediment data base, ... which includes information on metal and
organic contaminants and sediment texture. During the 16 years of the
continuing study, chromium, lead, mercury, silver, and zinc concentrations in
surface sediments have decreased by about 50 percent. Although these trends are
indeed encouraging, concentrations of some metals in harbor sediments are still
above levels considered toxic to certain bottom-dwelling organisms.
Waterbody or Watershed Names: Boston Harbor
Purpose: Over the last decade, contaminants entering Boston Harbor have been
significantly reduced. Although parts of the harbor still contain metals at
concentrations above toxicity guidelines for bottom-dwelling animals, we have
observed decreasing metal concentrations over time that are encouraging. We are
learning which natural sedimentary processes significantly influence the fate
and transport of ... metals in Boston Harbor and Massachusetts Bay.
Sponsor: United States Geological Survey
Sample Site Locations: Four locations in Boston Harbor have been sampled
periodically since 1977. Station 4 is in a sandy area and closest to the Deer
Island sewage outfall. The remaining stations contain mostly silt and clay and
are considered areas where sediment is actively deposited.
Number of Samples Collected: The contaminated-sediment data base includes
information on metal concentrations and other sediment parameters for about
3,000 samples collected throughout the harbor area.
Start Date: 1977-01-01
TERRESTRIAL HYDROSPHERE > SURFACE WATER
TERRESTRIAL HYDROSPHERE > WATER QUALITY/WATER CHEMISTRY
OCEANS > COASTAL PROCESSES > SEDIMENT TRANSPORT
OCEANS > MARINE ENVIRONMENT MONITORING
OCEANS > OCEAN CIRCULATION
OCEANS > WATER QUALITY > OCEAN CONTAMINANTS
BIOSPHERE > AQUATIC ECOSYSTEMS > COASTAL HABITAT
Quality Full quality assurance program.
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Use Constraints None noted.
Data Set Progress
Distribution Media: Online Internet (HTTP)
Role: DIF AUTHOR
Phone: (508) 457-2240
Email: mbothner at usgs.gov
United States Geological Survey 384 Woods Hole Road
City: Woods Hole
Province or State: Massachusetts
Postal Code: 02543-1598
Extended Metadata Properties
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Creation and Review Dates
DIF Creation Date: 2006-11-14
Last DIF Revision Date: 2007-02-26