Water Resources Research Act Program

Details for Project ID 2011TX400B

In Situ Remediation of the Trinity River Sediment Contaminated with Polychlorinated Biphenyls

Institute: Texas
Year Established: 2011 Start Date: 2011-03-01 End Date: 2012-02-28
Total Federal Funds: $5,000 Total Non-Federal Funds: $10,319

Principal Investigators: Prince Nfodzo, Hyeok Choi

Abstract: Aquatic sediments are often the ultimate receptors of all kinds of contaminants, in particular highly toxic and persistent polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs). The sediments act as long term sources for the release of PCBs to aquatic environment. Developing effective technologies for cleaning up PCBs-contaminated sites has been one of the highest priorities of USGS, EPA, and DOD. State-level concerns were also issued that fish in the Trinity River located in the North Texas is not safe for people to eat due to the high level of PCBs, and PCBs-contaminated sediment in Hudson River, NY is being moved and disposed to a PCBs-approved landfill in Andrews, TX. Recently, EPA researcher and Dr. Choi have developed an innovative material named reactive activated carbon (RAC) which possesses capability to physically sequestrate and chemically degrade PCBs, and they have preliminarily tested it for the adsorption and dechlorination of PCBs exclusively in pure water. Consequently, this study will, for the first time, explore the treatment capability of the RAC strategy towards PCBs in actual sediment matrix with heterogeneous nature, in particular the Trinity’s PCBs, in order to propose the RAC cap/barrier concept as a new environmental risk management option for PCBs-contaminated aquatic sediments in US.