Screening of Organic Contaminants in Urban Snow
Journal article, 2011
Snowmelt is known to cause peak concentrations of pollutants, which may adversely affect
receiving water quality. High concentrations of metals and suspended solids in snow have been
reported, whereas studies on organic pollutants are rare. This study aims at investigating the
occurrence of anthropogenic organic compounds in urban snow in Gothenburg (Sweden). The most
frequently detected organic pollutants in the collected snow samples were polycyclic aromatic
hydrocarbons (PAHs), high molecular-weight phthalates, 4-nonylphenol and 4-t-octylphenol.
Brominated flame retardants and chlorinated paraffins were only sporadically detected. In several
snow samples, the concentrations of specific PAHs, alkylphenols and phthalates were higher than
reported stormwater concentrations and European water quality standards. Pollutant source
identification and sustainable management of snow are important instruments for the mitigation of
organic contaminants in the urban environment.