Coal-tar-based sealcoated pavement: A major PAH source to urban stream sediments

Amy E. Witter, Minh H. Nguyen, Sunil Baidar, Peter B. Sak

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

42 Scopus citations


We used land-use analysis, PAH concentrations and assemblages, and multivariate statistics to identify sediment PAH sources in a small (∼1303 km2) urbanizing watershed located in South-Central, Pennsylvania, USA. A geographic information system (GIS) was employed to quantify land-use features that may serve as PAH sources. Urban PAH concentrations were three times higher than rural levels, and were significantly and highly correlated with combined residential/commercial/industrial land use. Principal components analysis (PCA) was used to group sediments with similar PAH assemblages, and correlation analysis compared PAH sediment assemblages to common PAH sources. The strongest correlations were observed between rural sediments (n = 7) and coke-oven emissions sources (r = 0.69-0.78, n = 5), and between urban sediments (n = 22) and coal-tar-based sealcoat dust (r = 0.94, n = 47) suggesting that coal-tar-based sealcoat is an important urban PAH source in this watershed linked to residential and commercial/industrial land use.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)59-68
Number of pages10
JournalEnvironmental Pollution
StatePublished - 2014

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Toxicology
  • Pollution
  • Health, Toxicology and Mutagenesis


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