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NOAA Conducts Field Mission to Assess Contaminants in American Samoa

Researchers from the National Centers for Coastal Ocean Science (NCCOS), in collaboration with partners from NOAA’s Coral Reef Conservation Program, recently completed a major field effort to quantify pollution in the Faga’alu Bay watershed in American Samoa. Faga’alu Bay has been designated as a U.S. Coral Reef Task Force priority watershed and is a focus area for several interagency scientific assessments and management activities. NOAA’s field efforts were conducted simultaneously with U.S. Geological Survey work in the watershed.

The sediment samples collected during the field mission will be analyzed for the standard suite of NCCOS National Status and Trends Program contaminants, including PAHs, PCBs, chlorinated pesticides, and heavy metals. This quantitative assessment will help identify spatial differences in contamination within the bay, potential sources of contaminants in the watershed, and facilitate a comparison with historical national sediment pollution levels, as well as published toxicity guidelines. The results of the assessment will be published in an upcoming technical memorandum.

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