Screening-level ecological and human health risk assessment of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons in stormwater detention pond sediments of Coastal South Carolina, USA.
ABSTRACT Screening-level ecological and human health assessments were performed for polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbon (PAH) contamination in the sediments of 19 stormwater detention ponds located in coastal South Carolina. For ecological screening benchmarks, we used threshold and probable effect concentrations (TEC and PEC) derived from consensus-based sediment quality guidelines for individual PAH analytes and equilibrium partitioning sediment benchmarks-toxic units (SigmaESB-TU) derived for PAH mixtures. For human health benchmarks, we used preliminary remediation goals (PRGs). Sediments of five stormwater ponds (four commercial ponds and one residential pond with a large drainage area) exceeded PEC values for several PAH analytes and the SigmaESB-TU safe value of 1 for PAH mixtures. These same five stormwater ponds also exceeded the PRG values for five carcinogenic PAH analytes. These results suggest that the PAH levels in sediments from certain commercial and residential ponds have the potential to pose moderate to high risks for adverse, chronic effects to benthic organisms in situ and an increased risk of cancer to humans ex situ following excavation and on-site disposal. We recommend that sediment from these stormwater ponds be tested prior to excavation to determine the appropriate method of disposal. We also recommend that regulatory agencies enforce guidelines for periodic sediment removal as this should reduce both in situ and ex situ risks resulting from sediment PAH exposure.