Assessment of anthropogenic influences on surface water quality in urban estuary, northern New Jersey: Multivariate approach

Jin Y. Shin, Francisco Artigas, Christine Hobble, Yung Seop Lee

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

39 Scopus citations


Concentrations of selected heavy metals (Cd, Cr, Cu, Pb, Ni, Fe, and Zn), nutrients (NO 3 - and NH3), fecal coliform colonies, and other multiple physical-chemical parameters were measured seasonally from 12 locations in an urban New Jersey estuary between 1994 and 2008. Stepwise regression, principal component analysis, and cluster analysis were used to group water quality results and sampling locations, as well as to assess these data's relationship to sewage treatment effluents and the distance to the mouth of the river. The BOD5, NH3, NO 3 - and fecal coliform counts clustered as one group and positively correlated to the distances from treated effluent and the measures of magnitude at the discharge points. Dissolved solids and most metal species scored high along a single principal component axes and were significantly correlated with the proximity to the industrialized area. From these data, one can conclude that the effluent discharge has been a main source of anthropogenic input to the Hackensack River over the past 15 years. Therefore, the greatest improvement to water quality would come from eliminating the few remaining combined sewer overflows and improving the removal of nutrients from treated effluents before they are discharged into the creeks and river.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2777-2794
Number of pages18
JournalEnvironmental monitoring and assessment
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 2013
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Environmental Science(all)
  • Pollution
  • Management, Monitoring, Policy and Law


  • Anthropogenic effect
  • Combined sewer overflows
  • Hackensack River
  • Multivariate analysis
  • Stepwise regression
  • Urban estuary
  • Water quality


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