Field deployment of polyethylene devices to measure PCB concentrations in pore water of contaminated sediment.

Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, Stanford University, 473 Via Ortega, Room 313B Stanford, California 94305-4020, USA.
Environmental Science and Technology (Impact Factor: 5.48). 09/2008; 42(16):6086-91. DOI: 10.1021/es800582a
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT Sediment pore water concentrations of polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) in a contaminated mudflat in San Francisco Bay, CA were determined by field-deployed polyethylene devices (PEDs). Sequential sampling of PEDs deployed in the field showed large differences in uptake rates and time to equilibrium compared to PEDs mixed with field-collected sediment in the laboratory. We demonstrate a modeling approach that involves the use of impregnated performance reference compounds (PRCs) and interpretation of the data either by PCB molar volume adjustment or environmental adjustment factors to measure pore water concentrations of 118 PCB congeners. Both adjustment methods predicted comparable sampling rates, and PCB pore water concentrations estimated by use of the molar volume adjustment method were similar to values analytically measured in pore waters from the laboratory and field. The utility of PEDs for sampling pore water in the field was evaluated at a tidal mudflat amended with activated carbon to sequester PCBs. Pore water concentrations decreased up to 60% within 18 months after activated carbon amendment, as compared to a mechanical-mixed control plot Results of this study illustrate PEDs provide an inexpensive, in situ method to measure total PCB contamination in sediment pore water using a small set of PRCs.

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