Sediment contaminant surveillance in Milford Haven Waterway

Little, DI, Bullimore, B, Galperin, Y and Langston, WJ 2016 Sediment contaminant surveillance in Milford Haven Waterway. Environ Monit Assess, 188. 34.

Little Bullimore Galperin and Langston for Jnl Env Mon Assess_accepted final.pdf - Accepted Version
Available under License Creative Commons Attribution.

Download (1MB) | Preview


Sediment contaminants were monitored in Milford Haven Waterway (MHW) since 1978 (hydrocarbons) and 1982 (metals), with the aim of providing surveillance of environmental quality in one of the UK’s busiest oil and gas ports. This aim is particularly important during and after large-scale investment in liquefied natural gas (LNG) facilities. However, methods inevitably have changed over the years, compounding the difficulties of coordinating sampling and analytical programmes. After a review by the MHW Environmental Surveillance Group (MHWESG), sediment hydrocarbon chemistry was investigated in detail in 2010. Natural Resources Wales (NRW) contributed their MHW data for 2007 and 2012, collected to assess the condition of the Special Area of Conservation (SAC) designated under the European Union Habitats Directive. Datasets during 2007-2012 have thus been more comparable. The results showed conclusively that a MHW-wide peak in concentrations of sediment polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs), metals and other contaminants occurred in late 2007. This was corroborated by independent annual monitoring at one centrally-located station with peaks in early 2008 and 2011. The spatial and temporal patterns of recovery from the 2007 peak, shown by MHW-wide surveys in 2010 and 2012, indicate several probable causes of contaminant trends, as follows: atmospheric deposition, catchment runoff, sediment resuspension from dredging, and construction of two LNG terminals and a power station. Adverse biological effects predictable in 2007 using international sediment quality guidelines, were independently tested by data from monitoring schemes of more than a decade duration in MHW (starfish, limpets), and in the wider SAC (grey seals). Although not proving cause and effect, many of these potential biological receptors showed a simultaneous negative response to the elevated 2007 contamination following intense dredging activity in 2006. Wetland bird counts were typically at a peak in the winter of 2005-2006 previous to peak dredging. In the following winter 2006-2007, shelduck in Pembroke River showed their lowest winter count, and spring 2007 was the largest ever drop in numbers of broods across MHW between successive breeding seasons. Wigeon counts in Pembroke River were again low in late 2012 after further dredging nearby. These results are strongly supported by PAH data reported previously from invertebrate bioaccumulation studies in MHW 2007-2010, themselves closely reflecting sediment

Item Type: Publication - Article
Divisions: Marine Biological Association of the UK > Ocean Biology
Depositing User: Dr Bill Langston
Date made live: 09 May 2016 09:50
Last Modified: 09 Feb 2024 16:43

Actions (login required)

View Item View Item