Sedimentary and Geochemical Aspects of a Refinery Impacted Coastal Area: A Case Study of the Todos os Santos Bay (Bahia, Brazil)


The present study was performed in the northeast portion of the Todosos Santos Bay, Bahia State, Brazil, an area under influence of the Landulpho Alves-Mataripe (RLAM) refinery effluents. The aim of this work is to evaluate the modern sedimentary processes based on grain-size analysis, calcium carbonate and sedimentary organic matter concentration and behavior considering the possible effects of the petroleum industry’s refining on these sediments. The concentrations and variations of the three main constituents of organic matter (total organic C, total N and organic P), and the resulting elemental ratios (C/N, C/P and N/P), were studied on a seasonal spatial and temporal scale (winter 2004 and summer 2005), therefore subsidizing the environmental analysis, especially in regards to the benthic ecosystem. Fifty samples from twenty-five sampling stations were collected with a grab sampler. Well sorted sandy sediments are observed in coastal sampling stations and in the Caboto channel. The recent deposition of fine sediments was observed especially in the west and central portions of study area. However, these spots contain the highest percentages of organic material, which do not present significant seasonal and spatial variations, revealed by the values of total organic C which reach values of up to 3.1%, total N (0.01% to 0.15%) and the organic P contents that reach a maximum of 15.9 μmol·g-1. In general, the elemental ratios indicated continental organic matter inputs, probably derived from human activities.

Share and Cite:

Barcellos, R. , Braga, E. , Furtado, V. and Berbel, G. (2014) Sedimentary and Geochemical Aspects of a Refinery Impacted Coastal Area: A Case Study of the Todos os Santos Bay (Bahia, Brazil). International Journal of Geosciences, 5, 1451-1467. doi: 10.4236/ijg.2014.512119.

Conflicts of Interest

The authors declare no conflicts of interest.


[1] Boggs, S. (1995) Principles of Sedimentology and Stratigraphy. 2nd Edition, Prentice Hall, New Jersey, 765 p.
[2] Pettijohn, F.J. (1975) Sedimentary Rocks. 2nd Edition, Harper and Row Publishers, New York, 628 p.
[3] Suguio, K. (2003) Geologia Sedimentar. 1st Edition, Edgard Blucher, Sao Paulo, 400 p.
[4] Forstner, U. (1990) Inorganic Chemistry and Elemental Speciation. In: Baudo, R., Giesy, J.P. and Muntau, H., Eds., Sediments: Chemistry and Toxicity of In-Place Pollutants, Lewis Publishers, Boca Raton, 61-105.
[5] Lick, W. (1986) Modeling the Transport of Fine-Grained Sediments in Aquatic Systems. Science Total Environment, 55, 219-228.
[6] Ziegler, C.K., Tsai, C.H. and Lick, W. (1988) Transport of Sediments in the Venice Lagoon. Proceedings of 3rd International Conference on Environmental Contamination, Venice, September 1988, 336-338.
[7] Reading, H.G. and Collinson, J.D. (1996) Clastic Coasts. In: Reading, H.G., Ed., Sedimentary Environments: Processes, Facies and Stratigraphy, 3rd Edition, Blackwell Science, London, 688 p.
[8] Ruttenberg, K.C. and Goni, M.A. (1997) Phosphorus Distribution, C:N:P Ratios, and d13Coc in Artic, Temperate and Tropical Coastal Sediments: Tools for Characterizing Bulk Sedimentary Organic Matter. Marine Geology, 139, 123-145.
[9] Saito, Y., Nishimura, A. and Matsumoto, E. (1989) Transgressive and Sheet Covering the Shelf and Upper Slope off Sendai, Northeastern Japan. Marine Geology, 89, 245-258.
[10] Jennerjahn, T.C., Ittekkot, V., Klopper, S., Adi, S., Nugroho, S. P., Sudiana, N., Yusmal, A., Prihartanto and Gaye-Haake, B. (2004) Biogeochemistry of a Tropical River Affected by Human Activities in Its Catchment: Barntas River Estuary and Coastal Waters of Madura Strait, Java, Indonesia. Estuarine, Coastal and Shelf Science, 60, 503-514.
[11] Lamb, A.L., Graham, P.W. and Leng, M.J. (2006) A Review of Coastal Palaeoclimate and Relative Sea-Level Reconstructions Using δ13C and C/N Ratios in Organic Matter. Earth-Science Reviews, 75, 29-57.
[12] Redfield, A.C., Ketchum, B.H. and Richards, F.A. (1963) The Influence of Organisms on the Composition of the Sea Water. In: Hill, M.N., Ed., The Sea, Vol. 2, Interscience Publishers, New York, 26-77.
[13] GDB (Bahia State Government) (2000) Saneamento ambiental da Baia de Todos os Santos (BTS). Diagnostico da qualidade das aguas da BTS (Estudos preliminares, fontes de poluicao, legislacao e metodologia). Report, Salvador.
[14] Ponce, V.R. and Correa, C.I. (1980) Contribuicao a sedimentologia da Baia de Todos os Santos-Parte Leste. Anais Hidrograficos, 37, 113-139.
[15] Tavares, T.M., Roch, V.C., Porte, C., Barcelo, D. and Albaiges, J. (1988) Application of the Mussel Watch Concept in Studies of Hydrocarbons, PCBs and DDT in Brazilian Bay of Todos os Santos (Bahia). Marine Pollution Bulletin, 19, 575-578.
[16] IBGE (2010) Anuario estatistico do Brasil. Instituto Brasileiro de Geografia e Estatistica, Sao Paulo, 520 p.
[17] Muller, G. (1967) Methods in Sedimentary Petrography (Part I). Hafner Publishing Co., New York, 283 p.
[18] Ingram, R.L. (1971) Sieve Analysis. In: Carver, R.E., Ed., Procedures in Sedimentary Petrology, Wiley Interscience, New York, 49-69.
[19] Larssoneur, C., Bouysse, P. and Aufret, J.P. (1982) The Superficial Sediments of the English Channel and Its Western Approach. Sedimentology, 29, 851-864.
[20] Gaudette, H.E., Flight, W.R., Towner, L. and Folger, D.W. (1994) An Inexpensive Triation Method for Determination of Organic Carbon in Recent Sediments. Journal of Sedimentary Petrology, 44, 249-253.
[21] Aspila, K.I.H., Agemian, A.S. and Chau, Y. (1976) A Semi-Automatic Method for Determination of Inorganic, Organic and Total Phosphate in Sediments. Analyst, 101, 187-197.
[22] Grasshoff, K., Ehrhardt, M. and Kremling, K. (1983) Methods of Seawater Analysis. 2nd Edition, Verlag Chemie Weinhein, New York, 419 p.
[23] Folk, R.L. and Ward, W.C. (1957) Brazos River Bar: Study of the Significance of Grain Size Parameters. Journal of Sedimentary Petrology, 27, 3-27.
[24] Shepard, F.P. (1954) Nomenclature Based on Sand-Silt-Clay Ratios. Journal of Sedimentary Petrology, 24, 151-158.
[25] Zar, J.H. (1999) Biostatistical Analysis. 4th Edition, Prentice Hall, Englewood Cliffs, 663 p.
[26] Suguio, K. (1973) Introducao a Sedimentologia. Edgard Blucher/EDUSP, Sao Paulo, 317 p.
[27] Calvo, C., Grasso, M. and Gardenghi, G. (1991) Organic Carbon and Nitrogen in Sediments and Resuspended Sediments of Venice Lagoon: Relationships with PCB Contamination. Marine Pollution Bulletin, 22, 543-547.
[28] Swift, D.J.P., Oertel, G.F., Tillman, R.W. and Thorne, J.A., Eds. (1991) Shelf Sands and Sandstone Bodies: Geometry, Facies and Sequence Stratigraphy. John Wiley & Sons, New Jersey, 532 p.
[29] Sharp, J.H. (1973) Size Classes of Organic Carbon in Seawater. Limnology and Oceanogaphy, 18, 441-447.
[30] Stein, R. (1991) Accumulation of Organic Matter in Marine Sediments. Results from Deep Sea Drilling Project/Ocean Drilling Program. In: Bhattacharji, S., Friedman, G.M., Neugebauer, H.J., Seilacher, A., Eds., Lectures Notes in Earth Sciences, Vol. 34, Springer, Berlin, 217 p.
[31] Venturini, N., Tommasi, L.R., Bicego, M.C. and Martins, C.C. (2004) Characterization of the Benthic Environment of a Coastal Area Adjacent to an Oil Refinery, Todos os Santos Bay (NE-Brazil). Brazilian Journal of Oceanography, 52, 39-50.
[32] Siqueira, G.W. (2003) Estudo dos teores de metais pesados e outros elementos em sedimentos superficiais do Sistema Estuarino de Santos (Sao Paulo) e da Plataforma Continental do Amazonas (Margem Continental Norte). Ph.D. Thesis, University of Sao Paulo, Sao Paulo, 326 p.
[33] Siqueira, G.W., Braga, E.S., Mahiques, M.M. and Aprile, F.M. (2006) Determinacao da materia organica e razoes C/N e C/S em sedimentos de fundo do estuario de Santos-SP/Brasil. Arquivos de Ciencias do Mar, 39, 18-27.
[34] Barcellos, R.L. and Furtado, V.V. (2006) Organic Matter Contents and Modern Sedimentation at Sao Sebastiao Channel, Sao Paulo State, South-Eastern, Brazil. Journal of Coastal Research, 39, 1073-1077.
[35] Moturi, M.C.Z., Rawat, M. and Subramanian, V. (2005) Distribution and Partitioning of Phosphorus in Solid Waste and Sediments from Drainage Canals in the Industrial Belt of Delhi, India. Chemosphere, 60, 237-244.
[36] Carrera, R.S. (2000) Investigacao sobre o acrescimo da estocagem de carbono em ambientes fertilizados pela acao antropogenica: A Baia de Guanabara como modelo. Ph.D. Thesis, Rio de Janeiro Catholic University (PUC-RJ), Rio de Janeiro.
[37] CONAMA (2004) n° 344/2004.
[38] Fukumoto, M. (2003) Caracterizacao da sedimentacao atual e reconstituicao da historia deposicional recente da Baia de Santos, a partir das caracteristicas composicionais e isotopicas da materia organica. Master’s Thesis, University of Sao Paulo, Sao Paulo, 96 p.
[39] Carrera, R.S. and Wagener, L.R. (1998) Speciation of Sewage Derived Phosphorus in Coastal Sediments form Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Marine Pollution Bulletin, 36, 818-827.
[40] Berbel, G.B.B. and Braga, E.S. (2008) Variacao sazonal (inverno e verao de 2005) das especiacoes de fosforo dissolvido e fosforo sedimentar em Santos e suas inter-relacoes com parametros fisicos e quimicos. Oceanografia e Mudancas Globais–III Simposio Brasileiro de Oceanografia, Vol. 1, Sao Paulo, Ed. USP, 583-597.
[41] Barcellos, R.L., Berbel, G.B.B., Braga, E.S. and Furtado, V.V. (2005) Distribuicao e caracteristicas do fosforo sedimentar no sistema estuarino lagunar de Cananeia-Iguape, Estado de Sao Paulo, Brasil. Geochimica Brasiliensis, 19, 22-36.
[42] Bordovskiy, O.K. (1965) Accumulation of Organic Matter in Bottom Sediments. Marine Geology, 3, 33-82.
[43] Barcellos, R.L. (2005) Processo Sedimentar Atual e a Distribuicao da Materia Organica Sedimentar no Sistema Estuarino—Lagunar de Cananeia—Iguape (SP). Ph.D. Thesis, Universityof Sao Paulo, Sao Paulo, 187 p.
[44] de Mahiques, M.M., Mishima, Y. and Rodrigues, M. (1999) Characteristics of the Sedimentary Organic Matter on the Inner and Middle Continental Shelf between Guanabara Bay and Sao Francisco do Sul, Southeastern Brazilian Margin. Continental Shelf Research, 19, 775-798.
[45] Venturini, N. and Tommasi, L.R. (2004) Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbons and Changes in the Throphic Structure of Polychaete Assemblages in Sediments of Todos os Santos Bay, Northeastern, Brazil. Brazilian Journal of Oceanography, 52, 39-50.
[46] Berner, R.A. (1984) Sedimentary Pirite Formation: An Update. Geochmicaet Cosmochimica Acta, 4, 605-615.

Copyright © 2021 by authors and Scientific Research Publishing Inc.

Creative Commons License

This work and the related PDF file are licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.