Date of Award

Spring 1983

Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)


Ocean & Earth Sciences



Committee Director

Terry L. Wade

Committee Member

George F. Oertel

Committee Member

George T. F. Wong

Call Number for Print

Special Collections LD4331.O35B75


The concentrations of coprostanol and hydrocarbons were measured in the effluent from the Chesapeake-Elizabeth sewage treatment plant and surface sediments from the area surrounding the effluent discharge site. Most of the coprostanol (>84%) and hydrocarbons (>91%) were associated with particulates in the effluent. Some of these particles were incorporated into the sedimentary column within the study area, while some may have escaped from the area.

The study area is found to be a dynamic area where changes in the percentage and distribution of fine-grained sediments occur over periods of months. The movement of fine-grained sediments is an important determinant of the distribution of sewage derived contaminants.

The Chesapeake-Elizabeth STP was responsible for, at most, 7% of the hydrocarbon contamination of the sediments in the study area, however, the STP is not a major source (<1%) of the fine-grained sediments in the study area. The distribution of hydrocarbons suggest that the Bay Bridge Tunnel may be a unique source of hydrocarbons to the lower Chesapeake Bay. This study shows the usefulness of coprostanol in providing a better understanding of the fate and importance of sewage derived contaminants in the area around sewage outfalls.


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