Recontamination of sediments by stormwater is a major concern when evaluating the potential effectiveness of sediment remediation. Stormwater and sediment sampling were conducted in a mixed-use watershed at Paleta Creek in San Diego, CA to evaluate methods for assessing sediment recontamination by metals. Size-segregated stormwater contaminant loads with simultaneous receiving water and sediment measurements were used to identify dominant sources and contaminants with respect to their impact on sediment recontamination. Most of the stormwater contaminant loads of Cd, Cu, Pb, and Zn were associated with residential and highway sources from the upstream portions of the watershed and As, Ni and Hg were more significantly influenced by the downstream area of the watershed. Cd was strongly associated with large particles (>63 μm) and observed to settle in near shore areas with some attenuation due to mixing and dilution. Cu, in contrast, was associated more with the filtered fraction (<0.45 μm) and clay fraction (0.45–5 μm), resulting in less near shore sediment recontamination. Depositing sediment and other metals, particularly Cu and Hg, exhibited greater accumulation in settling traps than could be attributed to stormwater loads indicating the importance of other sources or resuspension of bay sediments on surficial sediment concentrations. Pb, Zn, Ni, and As showed influences of both stormwater and other sources. The study showed that measurement of size-segregated stormwater contaminant mass and concentrations combined with simultaneous measurements of deposition in sediment traps could differentiate between recontamination by stormwater and that of other sources.
- Particle size distribution characterization
- Sediment recontamination
- Settling traps