Author(s): Crockett AB, White GJ
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Abstract Winter Quarters Bay (WQB) is a small embayment located adjacent to McMurdo Station, the largest research base in Antarctica. The bay is approximately 250 m wide and long, with a maximum depth of 33 m. Historically, trash from the McMurdo Station was piled on the steep shoreline of WQB, doused with fuel and ignited. That practice has ceased, and the adjacent land area has been regraded to cover the residual waste. The bottom of WQB remains littered with drums, equipment, tanks, tires, cables, and other objects, especially the southeastern side of the bay where dumping took place. Sediments are contaminated with PCBs, metals, and hydrocarbon fuels. The objectives of this study were to map the distribution of organic contaminants in WQB, assess the toxicity of WQB sediments using a simple microbial test, and determine correlations between toxicity and contaminant levels. The study suggests that adverse ecological effects have occurred from one or more of the contaminants found in WQB but the source of the toxic impacts to bay sediments remains unknown. Whole sediment toxicity was only correlated with oil-equivalent while solvent extracts of sediments were correlated with PAHs and oil-equivalent. The authors recommend that an integrated research plan be developed that focuses on determining what additional information is needed to make informed decisions on possible remediation of WQB.
This article was published in Environ Monit Assess
and referenced in Journal of Petroleum & Environmental Biotechnology