In order to evaluate the historical impact of urban stormwater runoff on a lacustrine environment, eight sediment cores were collected in October 2006 in Lake Bourget (Savoie, France). Sediment samples were analysed for polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAH) and polychlorobyphenyls (PCB) in order to correlate the vertical profiles of contamination and the evolution of the urbanisation on the watershed for the last 100 years. Overall, we observe that vertical profiles of PCB and PAH concentrations in Lake Bourget are showing a downward trend, probably resulting from the pollution control measures. Concentrations of PCB and PAH measured in surface sediments are approximately 5–10 fold less than maximal concentrations found in the cores. Maximal PAH concentrations were found at the bottom of the cores (∼40 cm) which approximately correspond to the beginning of the 20th century. Maximal PCB concentrations measured in cores L5 and L6 are respectively 850 and 790 μg/g dw (dryweight). The peak of PCB corresponds to the maximum of PCB production and consumption in the 1970s. In surface sediments total PCB concentrations range between 47 and 79 μg/kg dw. Those concentrations are particularly high compared to other values measured in lake sediments and highlight the problem of a local source of PCB contamination in the watershed. General trends were observed, yet the part of urban stormwater runoff in the total contamination could not be determined.

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