Screening of organic contaminants in urban snow
Paper in proceedings, 2010
Snowmelt is known to cause peak concentrations of pollutants which may adversely affect receiving water quality. High concentrations in snow have been shown for e.g. metals and suspended solids, whereas studies on organic pollutants are rarely reported. This study aims
at investigating the occurrence of anthropogenic organic compounds in urban snow, and at identifying sources of the pollutants. Snow from sites in Gothenburg, Sweden, was sampled and a range of organic substances was analysed. The most frequently detected organic pollutants in urban snow were polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, high molecular-weight
phthalates, 4-nonylphenol and 4-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.