PMID: 7092318Jan 1, 1982Paper

Hydrocarbons in Victorian coastal ecosystems (Australia): chronic petroleum inputs to Western Port and Port Phillip Bays

Archives of Environmental Contamination and Toxicology
K A Burns, J L Smith


This study was undertaken to assess the impact of current land use practices, to provide data on which to base recommendations for petroleum discharge regulations, and to develop reliable methods for monitoring hydrocarbon pollution in Victorian coastal waters. Analyses of sediments and mussels were used to identify areas of chronic contamination and probable sources. A mussel transplant experiment detailed the movement of major industrial effluents. petroleum hydrocarbons varied from non-detectable to maximum values of 30 mg/g lipid in areas near points of continuous discharge. Problem areas were identified where tissue levels of hydrocarbons in mussels consistently exceeded 4 mg/g lipid and petroleum buildup was evident in sediments. Differences in chemical composition of hydrocarbons in various ecosystem components reflected biogeochemical processes acting to disperse, degrade, and transport hydrocarbons discharged into coastal waters. Results showed Port Phillip Bay is subject to much larger and more complex discharges of petroleum-containing wastes than Western Port from both discrete ship and shore-based inputs and from diffuse urban/industrial inputs, including surface run-off and atmospheric precipitation.


Nov 25, 1977·Science·R A HitesJ W Farrington

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