Polychlorinated biphenyls in the surficial sediment of Indiana Harbor and Ship Canal, Lake Michigan

Department of Applied Environmental Science, Stockholm University, Stockholm, Sweden
Environment international (Impact Factor: 5.56). 11/2010; 36(8):849-854. DOI: 10.1016/j.envint.2009.01.015


We report the results of the first intensive survey of polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) in the surficial sediment of the Indiana Harbor and Ship Canal (IHSC) in East Chicago, Indiana, a part of the Calumet River tributary of Lake Michigan that will be dredged to maintain depth for ship traffic. The tributary has previously been reported to be a large source of PCBs to Lake Michigan. PCB congeners were measured using tandem mass spectrometry in multiple reaction monitoring mode, a method that provides a high level selectivity and sensitivity for PCBs in complex environmental samples. The PCB concentrations (sum of 163 congeners or coeluting peaks) range from 53 to 35,000 ng g− 1 dry weight (d.w.) and are comparable to other PCB concentrations at contaminated tributaries in the United States, most of them (although not IHSC) established by law as Superfund sites. The PCB congener signal strongly resembles the original technical mixture Aroclor 1248 that has experienced a small amount of weathering — less than 2.5% by mass for the statistically different congeners — consistent with desorption, volatilization, and microbial dechlorination. The origin of the PCBs in IHSC is not known but Aroclor 1248 was used in hydraulic fluids, vacuum pumps, plasticizers and adhesives. Possible uses of this mixture in East Chicago included the equipment and auxiliary services for the adjacent steel mill and gas refinery and/or lubrication for the drawbridges spanning the canal.

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    • "Geometric mean concentrations of Aroclor 1254, 1248, 1260, and 1016 were 1500, 2800, 680, 180 ng/g dw, respectively, and are similar to the levels we found (Metropolitan Water Reclamation District of Greater Chicago, 2006). Sediment in the Indiana Harbor and Ship Canal, designated as an area of concern due to contamination of heavy metals, PAHs, and PCBs, had an average total PCB concentration of 8700 ng/g dw (Martinez et al., 2010); these levels are the same order of magnitude as the most contaminated site in the CSSC. "
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    ABSTRACT: The Chicago Sanitary and Ship Canal (CSSC) links the Great Lakes to the Mississippi River starting in downtown Chicago. In addition to storm water, the CSSC receives water from Chicago's wastewater treatment plants (WWTP). Such effluents are known to be sources of organic pollutants to water and sediment. Therefore in 2013, we collected 10 sediment samples from the CSSC and measured the concentrations of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs), polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), brominated flame retardants, and organophosphate esters (OPEs). Geometric mean concentrations of the summed concentrations of 16 PAHs ranged from 11,000 to 420,000ng/gdw, with the highest concentrations located at each end of the canal. Total PCB concentrations had a geometric mean of 1400±500ng/gdw. Brominated flame retardants were separated into two groups: polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDEs) and non-PBDEs. Concentrations of PBDEs and those of the non-PBDE flame retardants had a geometric average of 83±19 and 7.0±5.8ng/gdw, respectively. The summed concentrations of 8 OPEs ranged from 470 to 2800ng/gdw, with the highest concentration detected at a site located downstream of the Stickney water reclamation plant. Using ANOVA results, some hypotheses on sources to the CSSC could be formulated: downtown Chicago is probably a source of PAHs, the Cal-Sag Channel may be a source of PCBs, and neither the WWTP nor the Cal-Sag Channel seem to be significant sources of brominated flame retardants or OPEs. Copyright © 2015 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
    Full-text · Article · May 2015 · Chemosphere
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    • "Heavy congeners are more persistent in soil due to lower volatility; light congeners degrade more rapidly and migrate faster (Notarianni et al., 1998); dominance of light congeners may be a sign of degradation of heavy congeners (Sivey and Lee, 2007). PCBs may persist at toxic levels in sediments, despite dredging, particularly in downstream reaches of a contaminated river system (Cieniawski and Collier, 2003) and dredging may, increase exposure to PCBs (Martinez et al., 2010). PCBs in soil and sediment may be broken down by biodegradation (Faroon et al., 2003; D'Angelo and Nunez, 2010). "
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    ABSTRACT: The U.S. Department of Energy Portsmouth Gaseous Diffusion Plant is in the early stages of decommissioning and decontamination. During operations, the site drew a large amount of electric power and had multiple large switchyards on site. These are a source of polychlorinated biphenyls (PCB) contamination to both on-site and off-site streams. Some soil remediation has been completed in the main switchyard. During 2011 and 2012, fifteen sites were sampled at the surface (<10 cm) and subsurface (20–30 cm) to characterize the extent of PCB contamination, to identify weathering and migration of PCB contamination and to explore potential polychlorinated dibenzo-p-dioxins (PCDD) and polychlorinated dibenzofurans (PCDF) contamination due to transformer fires and explosions in the 1950s and 1960s. Stagnant sites tended to exhibit more migration of contamination to deeper sediments than sites with fast-moving waters, and the highest concentrations were found at the bottom of a settling pond. A signature set of five dioxin-like PCBs were consistently found across the site with higher concentrations in carbon rich surface sediments. PCB concentrations had a significant inverse correlation with clay content, suggesting that PCBs did not bind to clays at this site. Remediation has reduced PCB concentrations throughout the site compared to levels found in previous studies and long-term upkeep of sediment lagoons is necessary to retain PCB and dioxin-rich sediments. The flow regimen, organic carbon and clay content play a very important role in the fate of PCBs in the environment at the surface as well as downward migration.
    Full-text · Article · Nov 2014 · Chemosphere
    • "The levels were lower compared to concentrations reported for industrialized areas in Europe and United States of America (Covaci et al., 2005; Vane et al., 2007; Vives et al., 2007; Castells et al., 2008; Jiao et al., 2009; Martinez et al., 2010; Mohammed et al., 2011) (Table 2). "
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    ABSTRACT: Polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) were determined in sediments and two fish species collected from the Murchison Bay in Lake Victoria, using high resolution gas chromatography coupled to a high resolution mass spectrometer. Total PCB concentrations (Σ18PCBs) varied widely with mean values ranging from 777 to 4325 pg g− 1 dry weight (dw) for sediments and 80 to 779 pg g− 1 wet weight (ww) for fish. The PCB levels in the sediments were significantly higher at the station closest to Nakivubo channel, presumably due to effluents discharged by the channel, which may contain domestically produced commercial PCB mixtures. For fish, the concentrations in Nile perch (Lates niloticus) were significantly greater than those in Nile tilapia (Oreochromis niloticus) at all study stations, possibly due to dietary differences among species. World Health Organization-toxic equivalents (WHO2005-TEQs) for the dioxin-like PCBs were 0.04–0.64 pg g− 1 dw and 0.01–0.39 pg g− 1 ww for sediments and fish, respectively. The non-ortho PCBs exhibited the highest contribution to the Σ12TEQs (> 75%) compared to the mono-ortho PCBs in both fish species. The TEQs in the present study were lower than many reported worldwide in literature for fish and were within the permissible level recommended by the European Commission, implying that the fish did not pose health hazards related to PCBs to the consumers.
    No preview · Article · Jun 2014 · Science of The Total Environment
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