Water Resources Research Act Program

Details for Project ID 2015NJ365B

Establishing bioremediation options for dioxins and furans for the heavily contaminated sediments of the Passaic River, New Jersey

Institute: New Jersey
Year Established: 2015 Start Date: 2015-03-01 End Date: 2016-02-28
Total Federal Funds: $5,000 Total Non-Federal Funds: $10,000

Principal Investigators: Haider AlMnehlawi, Donna E. Fennell

Abstract: The goal of this project is to improve water quality in the Passaic River system. The Passaic River is heavily polluted by hazardous contaminants such as dioxins, polychlorinated biphenyls and heavy metals that are contained in the river sediments. Past activities of chemical manufacturing companies caused this river pollution. According to EPA there are 7.9 million cubic yards of contaminated sediments in the Lower Passaic River (up to 15 feet of sediments). Sediments may bere-suspended during floods and tides and contamination has been widely spread in the river. The chlorinated dibenzo-p-dioxins and dibenzofurans (referred to here as dioxins) are important contaminants in the river because of their toxicity and persistence in the environment. Dioxins are carcinogens and mutagenic, and they have an effect on immune, reproductive, circulatory and respiratory systems. They have high molecular mass and high Kow. that makes their removal from sediments difficult. The objective of this study is to identify Passaic River bacteria that aerobically degrade lightly chlorinated dioxins. Indigenous isolates are already adapted to live in this highly impaired environment and they have required enzymes for contaminant degradation. Evidence that there are native bacteria degrading dioxins as sole carbon sources will help us in future applications of bioremediation for Passaic River sediments to improve the river water quality.