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Biological and Chemical Determination of Contaminant Levels in Settling Particulate Matter and Sediments: A Swedish River System before, during, and after Dredging of PCB-Contaminated Lake Sediments

Magnus Engwall, Carina Näf, Dag Broman and Björn Brunström
Ambio
Vol. 27, No. 5, The Järnsjön Project, Sweden. Remediation of PCB-Contaminated Sediments (Aug., 1998), pp. 403-410
Published by: Springer on behalf of Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/4314757
Page Count: 8
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Biological and Chemical Determination of Contaminant Levels in Settling Particulate Matter and Sediments: A Swedish River System before, during, and after Dredging of PCB-Contaminated Lake Sediments
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Abstract

A sensitive bioassay, based on EROD induction in cultured chicken embryo livers, was used together with chemical analysis to determine levels of dioxin-like contaminants in particulate matter in Emån. Extracts of sediment and settling particulate matter (SPM) collected in the river system before, during, and after dredging of a PCB-contaminated lake, Järnsjön, were separated into three fractions containing a) monoaromatic/aliphatic; b) diaromatic (e.g., PCBs and polychlorinated dibenzodioxins and dibenzofurans); and c) polyaromatic compounds (e.g., polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons). The samples from Järnsjön contained the highest PCB concentrations and the diaromatic extracts from Järnsjön samples showed the highest activities of EROD-inducing diaromatic compounds. The dioxin-like activity of the diaromatic fraction in sediment collected after the dredging of Järnsjön had only around 1% of the activity of the pre-dredging sediment, showing that the remediation was successful in terms of removal of the PCB-contaminated sediment from the lake. In SPM collected immediately downstream from Järnsjön, levels of diaromatic dioxin-like compounds were elevated during the dredging, and decreased after that. The post-dredging concentrations were however higher than in SPM from lakes upstream of Lake Järnsjön, showing that elevated levels of dioxin-like diaromatic compounds were still present in the water system downstream of Järnsjön a couple of years after the dredging.

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