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Effects of Hurricanes Katrina and Rita on the Chemistry of Bottom Sediments in Lake Pontchartrain, Louisiana, USA

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journal contribution
posted on 15.11.2006, 00:00 by Peter C. Van Metre, Arthur J. Horowitz, Barbara J. Mahler, William T. Foreman, Christopher C. Fuller, Mark R. Burkhardt, Kent A. Elrick, Edward T. Furlong, Stanley C. Skrobialowski, James J. Smith, Jennifer T. Wilson, Stephen D. Zaugg
The effects of Hurricanes Katrina and Rita and the subsequent unwatering of New Orleans, Louisiana, on the sediment chemistry of Lake Pontchartrain were evaluated by chemical analysis of samples of street mud and suspended and bottom sediments. The highest concentrations of urban-related elements and compounds (e.g., Pb, Zn, polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, and chlordane) in bottom sediments exceeded median concentrations in U.S. urban lakes and sediment-quality guidelines. The extent of the elevated concentrations was limited, however, to within a few hundred meters of the mouth of the 17th Street Canal, similar to results of historical assessments. Chemical and radionuclide analysis of pre- and post-Hurricane Rita samples indicates that remobilization of near-shore sediment by lake currents and storms is an ongoing process. The effects of Hurricanes Katrina and Rita on the sediment chemistry of Lake Pontchartrain are limited spatially and are most likely transitory.

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