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Legacy Metals Within Urban Aquatic Environments and the Challenge They Pose to Rehabilitation


Legacy metals, a result of previous environmentally unsound practices, pose a challenge to the rehabilitation of urban aquatic ecosystems. The current study focuses on a harbor in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada, where use of antifouling paints for hull cleaning occurred for ca. 30 years. Sediment metal concentrations were mapped by depth and distance from where hulls were cleaned. By relating metal concentrations to the benthic invertebrate community and bivalve metal content, results indicate that cleaning activities severely impacted sediment quality. However, sewer outfalls, which integrate non-point sources of metals to the harbor, also contributed to poor sediment quality and high metal concentrations in bivalves. For the aquatic system to recover, non-point diffuse metal sources must be addressed, regardless of the challenge.

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We thank Dr. N. Angerilli for initiating this study. Field assistance of C. Santacruz, T. L’Espérance and A. Parsamanesh is gratefully appreciated. We thank T. Soo for editing assistance and N. Duckham for graphic design.

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Correspondence to L. I. Bendell.

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Duckham, C., Bendell, L.I. Legacy Metals Within Urban Aquatic Environments and the Challenge They Pose to Rehabilitation. Bull Environ Contam Toxicol 91, 396–401 (2013).

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  • Rehabilitation
  • Copper
  • Anti-fouling paints
  • Sewer outfalls