Screening of organic contaminants in urban snow

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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.

Keywords: alkylphenols, PAHs, perfluorinated compounds, phthalates, sources, urban runoff

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