Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

PCBs found in soon-to-be-dredged Indiana Harbor and Ship Canal

Date:
January 12, 2010
Source:
University of Iowa
Summary:
Researchers have confirmed that sediments of the Indiana Harbor and Ship Canal (IHSC) in East Chicago, Ind., are contaminated with polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs). The IHSC, part of the Calumet River tributary of Lake Michigan, will begin being dredged in the next few years to maintain the proper depth for ship traffic, with uncertain environmental impacts in regard to PCBs.

University of Iowa researchers have confirmed that sediments of the Indiana Harbor and Ship Canal (IHSC) in East Chicago, Ind., are contaminated with polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs).

The IHSC, part of the Calumet River tributary of Lake Michigan, will begin being dredged in the next few years to maintain the proper depth for ship traffic, with uncertain environmental impacts in regard to PCBs. Scientists aren't sure whether dredging will help the situation by removing the potentially harmful compounds or hurt it by stirring them up.

Employing tandem mass spectrometry, an analytical technique to determine the elemental composition of a sample or molecule, the UI researchers found high levels of PCBs. The origin of the PCBs is unknown, but they strongly resemble Aroclor 1248, a potentially toxic compound that may pose direct health hazards to humans. This mixture was used in hydraulic fluids, vacuum pumps, plasticizers and adhesives, according to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

"The presence of PCBs is important because dredging will impact the fate and transport of chemicals," said Keri Hornbuckle, professor of civil and environmental engineering in the UI College of Engineering and corresponding author of the study, published in the journal Environment International.

"It is quite possible that dredging will provide a major improvement in the situation. It may remove PCBs that are available to fish and other wildlife, and reduce the release of PCBs from the sediments," she said. "On the other hand, dredging might increase the availability and mobility of PCBs. Now that we know PCBs are present, these questions are pertinent."

Hornbuckle collaborated on the research with first author Andres Martinez, a graduate student in civil and environmental engineering; Karin Norstrom, a postdoctoral student in civil and environmental engineering; and Kai Wang, an assistant professor of biostatistics in the college of public health.

The IHSC is an active canal system that continues to support large vessels. But to remain viable for industrial shipping, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Chicago District, began a long-term dredging project to restore adequate navigational depth.

Due to years of heavy industrial operation, the IHSC has been contaminated with PCBs. Prior to this study, there was little published data of the spatial extent and concentration magnitude of PCBs in the sediment in IHSC. The Army Corps of Engineers reported that PCBs have existed in IHSC sediment since 1977, but has not published a full report.

The PCB levels found here are comparable to other PCB-contaminated sites in the U.S., most established by law as Superfund Sites, which requires the removal of contaminants from environmental media such as soil, groundwater and sediment. The IHSC is not a Superfund Site.

Funding for the research project was provided by the National Institute for Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS/NIH) Iowa Superfund Basic Research Program.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University of Iowa. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

University of Iowa. "PCBs found in soon-to-be-dredged Indiana Harbor and Ship Canal." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 12 January 2010. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/01/100112165251.htm>.
University of Iowa. (2010, January 12). PCBs found in soon-to-be-dredged Indiana Harbor and Ship Canal. ScienceDaily. Retrieved July 30, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/01/100112165251.htm
University of Iowa. "PCBs found in soon-to-be-dredged Indiana Harbor and Ship Canal." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/01/100112165251.htm (accessed July 30, 2014).

Share This




More Matter & Energy News

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Britain Testing Driverless Cars on Roadways

Britain Testing Driverless Cars on Roadways

AP (July 30, 2014) British officials said on Wednesday that driverless cars will be tested on roads in as many as three cities in a trial program set to begin in January. Officials said the tests will last up to three years. (July 30) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
China's Drone King Says the Revolution Depends on Regulators

China's Drone King Says the Revolution Depends on Regulators

Reuters - Business Video Online (July 30, 2014) Comparing his current crop of drones to early personal computers, DJI founder Frank Wang says the industry is poised for a growth surge - assuming regulators in more markets clear it for takeoff. Jon Gordon reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
3Doodler Bring 3-D Printing to Your Hand

3Doodler Bring 3-D Printing to Your Hand

AP (July 30, 2014) 3-D printing is a cool technology, but it's not exactly a hands-on way to make things. Enter the 3Doodler: the pen that turns you into the 3-D printer. AP technology writer Peter Svensson takes a closer look. (July 30) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Climate Change Could Cost Billions, According To White House

Climate Change Could Cost Billions, According To White House

Newsy (July 29, 2014) A report from the White House warns not curbing greenhouse gas emissions could cost the U.S. billions. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins