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Seminar: Andres Martinez

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December 6, 2013 @ 1:30 pm - 2:30 pm

“Fate of polychlorinated biphenyls congeners in a contaminated harbor and canal”


Andres Martinez

Department of Civil & Environmental Engineering, IIHR-Hydroscience and Engineering, The University of Iowa, Iowa City, IA, USA



Abstract: Polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) are one of the most studied hydrophobic organic compounds (HOCs) since they were first implicated as environmental contaminants forty-four years ago. PCBs are carcinogens, endocrine disruptors, and new evidence links PCB exposure to neurodevelopment disorders and autism. Furthermore, they can enter and bioaccumulate in the aquatic food chain. Through the collection of more than 100 samples from air, water and sediment from Indiana Harbor and Ship Canal (IHSC), the presence, distribution and release of PCBs were investigated. High levels of PCBs were found in each of the environmental compartments measured. The PCB signal strongly resembles Aroclor 1248, a commercial PCB mixture produced by Monsanto until it was banned from production in the late 1970s. To examine and predict the fate of PCBs in the IHSC, we developed an exchange model between the sediment-water and water-air. The results from this model showed that the sediment from IHSC is a source of PCBs to Lake Michigan and to the atmosphere. We used the model, to further probe the fate of PCBs in the harbor and have shown that 1) PCBs are not strongly bound to sediment; 2) the pore water PCBs are higher than expected; 3) that dredging of the harbor will significantly increase the discharge of PCBs to Lake Michigan; and 4) the community of East Chicago is directly affected by airborne PCBs that originate from IHSC sediments.


December 6, 2013
1:30 pm - 2:30 pm


Stanley Hydraulics Lab
127 SHL
Iowa City, IA 52242 United States
Posted on December 2nd, 2013

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