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Fate of PCB Congeners in an Industrial Harbor of Lake Michigan

Department of Civil & Environmental Engineering, IIHR-Hydroscience and Engineering, The University of Iowa, 4105 Seamans Center, Iowa City, IA 52242, USA.
Environmental Science and Technology (Impact Factor: 5.48). 04/2010; 44(8):2803-8. DOI: 10.1021/es902911a
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT We have quantified the release of polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) from Indiana Harbor and Ship Canal (IHSC) to Lake Michigan and the atmosphere. Navigational dredging is planned for this system, and there is concern that dredging will result in releases of PCBs. We have analyzed greater than 158 PCBs in surficial sediment, water, suspended particles, and air. We predicted the release of PCBs from sediments to water and from water to air. To quantify the level of confidence in our calculations, we used a Monte Carlo simulation for each congener flux. We determined that 4 +/- 0.05 kg of summation operatorPCBs were released from the sediment to the water and 7 +/- 0.1 kg of summation operatorPCBs were volatilized from the water to the air annually. We measured input from the upstream regions of the canal system of 45.0 kg yr(-1) and export to Lake Michigan of 43.9 kg yr(-1). The summation operatorPCBs mass balance accounts for nearly all the PCB inputs and losses to the navigational regions. The congener profiles in sediment, water, and air support our determination that the contaminated sediment is a major source of PCBs into the water and air above it. We have shown that the system is currently a significant source of PCBs to the air and to Lake Michigan, even under quiescent conditions.

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    • "Comparison between the congener profile distributions of the top and the bottom layers suggest that the less chlorinated congeners in the top layer are diffusing more rapidly into the overlying water than the more chlorinated compounds. This finding was also observed when fluxes from sediment to water were estimated (Martinez et al., 2010b). In addition, it is possible that aerobic and anaerobic microbial degradation might be occurring in this core (i.e. less low chlorinated congeners and more middle chlorinated congeners in the top layer, and more low chlorinated congeners and less middle chlorinated congeners in the bottom layer) (Borja et al., 2005) (Figure S8). "
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    ABSTRACT: Indiana Harbor and Ship Canal (IHSC) is an active navigational system that serves a heavily industrial area of southern Lake Michigan. We have determined the amount of polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), congener distributions, sorbent types and potential for dioxin-like PCB toxicity from two IHSC sediment cores. Vertical distributions of ΣPCBs (sum of 161 individual or coeluting congeners) ranged from 410 to 91000 and 1800 to 41000 ng g(-1) dry weight (d.w.) for cores 1 and 2, respectively. Core 1 showed its highest accumulation rate for the year ∼1979 and exhibits a strong Aroclor 1248 signal in sediments accumulating over the last 60 years. It appears that from the late 1930s until the beginning of the 1980s there was a large and constant input of PCBs into this system. This pattern differs from lake cores from the Great Lakes region which commonly exhibit a rapid increase, a peak, followed by a sharp decrease in the PCB accumulation rates. Core 2 also has a strong Aroclor 1248 signal in the top layers, but deeper layers show evidence of mixtures of Aroclors and/or weathering processes. High levels of black carbon as a fraction of total organic carbon were found in both cores (median ∼30%), which reflect the long history of local combustion sources. No strong relationship was found between ΣPCB concentration and sorbents. Both cores contain dioxin-like PCBs that are highest in concentration below the surface. The high levels of PCBs in the deep sediments are of concern because of plans to dredge this system.
    Chemosphere 09/2011; 85(3):542-7. DOI:10.1016/j.chemosphere.2011.08.018 · 3.50 Impact Factor
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