Ecological risk screen for PAHs in sediments near two produced water discharges at coastal production platforms in the Gulf of Mexico Page: 1 of 12
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Ecological Risk Screen for PAHs in Sediments Near Two Produced Water
Discharges at Coastal Production Platforms in the Gulf of Mexico
Seymour Holtzman, Anne F. Meinhold and Michael P. DePhillips
Department of Applied Science, Bldg 490D, Brookhaven National Laboratory, Upton,
NY 11973-5000, USA
Preliminary screens for risks to biota, were done on PAHs in sediments associated with
produced waters from platforms at Delacroix Island and at Bay de Chene, in open bays
of the Louisiana coast. Sediment samples were taken in Spring 1993 at the discharge
sites, along three transects at Delacroix Island and along four transects at Bay de
Chene (at intervals of 100, 300, 500 and 1000 ft), and at two reference locations for
each discharge site. A screen for deleterious effects on biota was done by comparing
concentrations to the Effects Range-Median (ERM) and Effects Range-Low (ERL)
criteria of Long et al. 1995. Only sediment samples from the discharge site at Bay de
Chene exceeded ERM concentrations for either total PAH, or individual and total high
molecular weight PAHs. The ERL criteria for total and individual PAH concentrations
were exceeded at, and 100 m from the discharge at Delacroix Island. At Bay de Chene
the ERL criteria for total and individual PAH concentrations were exceeded at the
discharge, as well as at 100 and 300 m stations.
One U.S. Department of Energy (USDOE) mission is cost-effective development of
domestic oil and gas resources with proper concern for the environment. This includes
the potential costs of compliance with regulations and effects on domestic oil and gas
supplies. Most of the current (and projected future) oil and gas platforms in the U.S. are
located in the central and western Gulf of Mexico. This area supports economically
important commercial and recreational fisheries, as well as unique, socially valued
ecosystems and several endangered and threatened species. Oil and gas production
are often accompanied by a saline wastewater, called produced water. In offshore and
coastal areas, this wastewater may be discharged to surface water. Produced water
may contain a number of contaminants, including oil and grease, organic compounds,
heavy metals and radionuclides. Many of these contaminants are toxic to marine
organisms at high concentrations.
Potential human health and environmental impact in the Gulf of Mexico, from discharge
of produced water, concern regulators at state and federal levels, environmental interest
groups, industry and the public. Current regulations in the United States require or
propose a zero discharge limit for coastal facilities based primarily on studies performed
in low energy, poorly flushed environments. Produced water discharges in coastal
Louisiana, however, include a number located in open bays, where potential impacts
are likely to be larger than the minimal impacts associated with offshore discharges, but
smaller than those demonstrated in low-energy canal environments.
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Holtzman, S.; Meinhold, A.F. & DePhillips, M.P. Ecological risk screen for PAHs in sediments near two produced water discharges at coastal production platforms in the Gulf of Mexico, article, December 1, 1995; Upton, New York. (https://digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc624273/m1/1/: accessed April 18, 2019), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, https://digital.library.unt.edu; crediting UNT Libraries Government Documents Department.