Caspian Sea 2011

State of the Environment of the Caspian Sea

The “At Sea Training Programme”(ASTP) was the first sediment quality programme in the coastal zone of the Caspian Sea. The pro- gramme’s research covered the period from October 2000 to September 2001. In total, 105 surface sediment samples were collected in the coastal zone of the Caspian Sea: 19 samples were gathered from the coastal zone of Azerbai- jan, 21 from the Russian coastal zone, 29 from Iran’s coastal zone and 33 from Kazakhstan. It should be noted that data from Turkmenistan was not included, as only two sediment sam- ples were investigated. Concentrations were evaluated based on the values specified in the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administra- tion (NOAA) Marine Sediment Quality Guide- line and those of the Canadian Interim Marine Quality Guideline (ISQG). The 2005 CEP contaminant screening survey was the second regional survey to be carried out after the Soviet era. In total, 84 sediment sam- ples were taken during the survey, covering ar- eas in the Volga delta and estuary and in coast- line areas of Kazakhstan, Iran and Turkmenistan. No sampling has been undertaken in Baku Bay (IAEA 2006). The most recent sediment monitoring activ- ity was conducted in 2009 under the auspices of the Regional Water Quality Monitoring Pro- gramme framework, forming part of the project “Caspian Water Quality Monitoring and Action Plan for Areas of Pollution Concerns” (Caspi- anMAP). Four marine expeditions were carried out in 2008-2009, covering all participating Cas- pian Sea countries with the exception of Iran. The key areas of contaminant analysis were: Total Petroleum Hydrocarbons (TPH); some Organochlorinated pesticides (OCPs), notably DDTs and lindane; PCBs; key trace metals (Hg, Cu, Zn); artificial and natural radionuclides: 40K137Cs, 210Pb, 226Ra, 238U. 9, 14 and 16 sediment samples were taken in the national sectors of Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan and Turkmen- istan respectively (TACIS 2009b).

Since the first recommendations were put for- ward, based on regional water quality monitor- ing programme findings and on various CEP recommendations, progress has clearly been made in terms of laboratory-based technical development and in creating awareness about the need for solutions to these pressing issues. However, little has actually changed in regard to the methods and implementation of regional monitoring programmes (TACIS 2009b). Petroleum hydrocarbon (PH) According to the 2001 monitoring programme, petroleum hydrocarbon (PH) concentrations in the Caspian Sea region ranged from 29 to 1,820 µg /g and were considered to be relatively high by global standards and at some locations, no- tably in Azerbaijan in the area south of Baku Bay. Although it was emphasized that some of the more well-known pollution hot spots were not sampled in surveys, it was reported in 2005 that petroleum hydrocarbon ( Σ -PHs) concentrations were relatively low by global standards. The dis- tribution of n-alkanes suggested a petrogenic origin for petroleum hydrocarbons at some sites in Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan and Russia. PHs in Iran and Turkmenistan, as well as some lo- cations in Russia, were found to come mainly from marine and terrestrial biogenic sources. In contrast, relatively fresh inputs of hydrocarbons were apparent in Iran and southern Turkmeni- stan (CEP 2007a). The latest monitoring survey in 2009 looked at areas of particular concern: in Baku Bay and in the coastal area of Sumgayit, high concentrations of oil products and phe- nols were found (TACIS 2009b). Relatively high oil hydrocarbon concentrations were also found in the area around the Satpaev oil field and the seaport of Bautino (TACIS 2009b). Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbons In 2001, total polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAH) concentrations were within the NOAA Sed- iment Quality Guideline value of 4,000 ng/g dry weight. The highest concentrations were identi- fied in Azerbaijan, particularly south of Baku Bay,


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