The sampling campaign at Svalbard was designed to capture PFAS profiles in the local marine environment arising from emissions at the firefighting training sites (FFTS) at the airport, local anthropogenic activity and/or long-range transport. Sampling was carried out at 4 stations and runoff water, sea water, surface sediments, benthic organisms and gulls were sampled.

Based on the results of the sampling campaign it was clear that the FFTS at Svalbard airport and diffuse release from the local settlement were the major local PFAS sources. The much lower concentrations detected in the seawater samples suggests that following release from the point sources, significant dilution of PFAS occurred by seawater circulation in the coastal waters of the Adventfjord. In the marine biota, PFAS levels increased from zooplankton to polychaete, crab, fish liver and gull liver. This reflects the biomagnification potential of PFAS.

LYR Airport

Longyearbyen Airport, Svalbard. Photo: Morten Jartun, NIVA