Contamination Sources



Waste & Pollution

As the urban population is growing globally and this effect is coupled with increasing consumption, waste management has become one of the most serious environmental challenges in urban areas, with adverse effects on the quality of life, human health, environmental and natural resources, and economic and social development. It is important to know the composition of a load of waste before it is send to landfill. On the other hand, only through developing an intimate understanding of the chemistry of organic chemicals can their eventual remediation be realized.

TOC in waste

Landfills are classified according to whether they can accept hazardous, non-hazardous or inert wastes. In waste management, TOC acts as a measure for contamination with organic compounds and is also used to perform quality control (QC) checks on industrial materials such as fly ash, cement, and kaolin. Also if you evaluate the recycling of residues – there is no way around TOC.

Temperature-dependent carbon fractions

The differentiation between two carbon fractions (TIC and TOC) could be insufficient as biologically inactive, residual oxidizable carbon is determined in the same fraction as TOC. When evaluating solid wastes, elemental carbon (ROC) should be determined separately, since there is no need to restrict the load of ROC to landfills. An alternative method for the determination of elemental carbon is temperature ramping as elemental carbon requires higher combustion temperatures compared to organically-bound carbon, which is realized by the soli TOC® cube.

Sources and fate of contamination

Stable isotope analysis has the power to deliver unparalleled insight into the complex interactions of organic pollutants in the environment. It can elucidate the often complex sources and fates of pollutant chemicals on land and at sea, aiding remediation strategy and shaping waste and resource management policy for protection of the environment. Developing our understanding of these processes aids our stewardship of the natural world to ensure that future generations enjoy the same wonders that we do today.

Waste & Pollution publications using our instruments

Our customers use our instruments to do some amazing research in the waste and pollution application field. To show you how they perform their research and how they use our IRMS instruments, we have collected a range of peer-reviewed publications which cite our products. You can find the citations below and then follow the links to the publishing journal should you wish to download the publication.

If you would like to investigate our available citations in more detail, or email the citation list to yourself or your colleagues then take a look at our full citation database.

84 results:

Polybrominated diphenyl ethers in thirteen shark species from offshore and coastal waters of Korea
Marine Pollution Bulletin (2015)
Hyun-Kyung Lee, Sang-Jo Kim, Yunsun Jeong, Sunggyu Lee, Woochang Jeong, Won-Chan Lee, Eun-Jung Choy, Chang-Keun Kang, Hyo-Bang Moon

Limited reports are available on polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDEs) in sharks. In this study, PBDEs were measured in dorsal muscles (n = 105) from 13 shark species collected from offshore and coastal waters of Korea. The PBDE concentrations varied greatly not only among species but also within species of sharks. The major PBDE congeners detected in our samples were BDEs 47, 28, 99, 153, 100, and 154. Concentrations of PBDEs in sharks in this study were lower than those reported for previous studies. The high PBDE concentrations were found for aggressive shark species. Inter-species differences in the concentrations and accumulation profiles of PBDEs are explained by differences in feeding habits and sampling locations. Several contributing factors such as growth velocity, trophic level, and local contamination may affect the bioaccumulation of PBDEs in sharks. The present study provides baselines for the occurrence and accumulation status of PBDEs in various shark species
Tags: nitrogen , ecol , ocea , poll , elem

Metal extent in blood of livestock from Dandora dumping site, Kenya: Source identification of Pb exposure by stable isotope analysis
Environmental Pollution (2015)
Hokuto Nakata, Shouta M.M. Nakayama, Yoshinori Ikenaka, Hazuki Mizukawa, Chihiro Ishii, Yared B. Yohannes, Satoru Konnai, Wageh Sobhy Darwish, Mayumi Ishizuka

Nairobi city in Kenya produces 2000 tons/day of garbage, and most of it is dumped onto the Dandora dumping site, home to a quarter-million residents. This study was conducted (1) to assess the contamination levels of nine metals and a metalloid (arsenic) in the blood of pigs, goats, sheep and cattle from Dandora, and (2) to identify a possible source of lead (Pb) pollution. Cadmium (Cd, 0.17e4.35 mg/kg, dry-wt) and Pb (90e2710 mg/kg) levels in blood were generally high, suggesting human exposure to Cd through livestock consumption and Pb poisoning among pigs (2600 mg/kg) and cattle (354 mg/kg). Results of Pb isotope ratios indicated that the major exposure route might differ among species. Our results also suggested a possibility that the residents in Dandora have been exposed to the metals through livestock consumption
Tags: carbon , nitrogen , ecol , poll , elem

Stable carbon isotope fractionation during the biodegradation of lambda-cyhalothrin
Science of The Total Environment (2015)
Xiaoli Shen, Zemin Xu, Xichang Zhang, Fangxing Yang

In this study, the microbial degradation of lambda-cyhalothrin in soil was investigated using compound-specific stable isotope analysis. The results revealed that lambda-cyhalothrin was biodegraded in soil under laboratory conditions.The half-lives of lambda-cyhalothrinwere determined to be 49 and 161 days innon-sterile and sterile soils spiked with 2 mg/kg lambda-cyhalothrin and 84 and 154 days in non-sterile and sterile soils spiked with 10mg/kg lambda-cyhalothrin, respectively.The biodegradationof lambda-cyhalothrinresultedin carbonisotope fractionation, which shifted from−29.0‰to−26.5‰in soil spiked with 2 mg/kg lambda-cyhalothrin, and to −27.5‰with 10 mg/kg lambda-cyhalothrin. A relationship was established between the stable carbon isotope fraction and the residual concentrations of lambda-cyhalothrin by the Rayleigh equation in which the carbon isotope enrichment factor ε of the microbial degradation of lambda-cyhalothrin in the soil was calculated as −2.53‰. This study provides an approach to quantitatively evaluate the biodegradation of lambda-cyhalothrin in soil in field studies.

A Particular River-Whiting Phenomenon Caused by Discharge of Hypolimnetic Water from a Stratified Reservoir.
PloS one (2015)
Jingan Chen, Haiquan Yang, David Dian Zhang, Dan Xu, Jing Luo, Jingfu Wang

A particular river-whiting phenomenon occurred in the early 2000s in the Xiaoche River and since then it has been reoccurring from June to November each year. Residents were surprised by this phenomenon and worried about it. This study was designed to reveal the forming mechanism of the river-whiting phenomenon. A comparison of T, EC, ORP, DO, TDS and δ34S in the culvert water and discharge pipe water with that in the water column of Aha Reservoir strongly indicated that the culvert water and discharge pipe water derived primarily from the hypolimnetic reservoir water. When the hypolimnetic water enriched in SO42- and H2S, through seepage from the penstock, flows into the Xiaoche River, the water's supersaturation degree with respect to CaSO4 is increased as a result of increased temperature and DO, thus colloid CaSO4 can be formed. This is the essential cause of the river-whiting phenomenon. The sources of high concentrations of SO42- and H2S in hypolimnetic water include not only direct SO42- and H2S input of acid mine drainage as a result of irrational coal mining in the watershed, but also the sulfur-enriched surface sediments which may release H2S through the sulfate reduction processes. The contaminated sediment has acted as an important contamination source for sulfur to the overlying water in Aha Reservoir. There are more than 50,000 large dams in the world until now. With the increase of reservoir age and the persistent accumulation of pollutants within the reservoir system, discharged hypolimnetic water may contain high levels of pollutants and lead to unpredicted disasters. More investigations are needed to illuminate the water quality condition of discharge water from reservoirs and estimate its impacts on the downstream eco-environment.

Assessment of the sources and transformations of nitrogen in a plain river network region using a stable isotope approach
Journal of Environmental Sciences (2015)
Jingtao Ding, Beidou Xi, Qigong Xu, Jing Su, Shouliang Huo, Hongliang Liu, Yijun Yu, Yanbo Zhang

The great spatial and temporal variability in hydrological conditions and nitrogen (N) processing introduces large uncertainties to the identification of N sources and quantifying N cycles in plain river network regions. By combining isotopic data with chemical and hydrologic measurements, we determined the relative importance of N sources and biogeochemical N processes in the Taige River in the East Plain Region of China. The river was polluted more seriously by anthropogenic inputs in winter than in summer. Manure and urban sewage effluent were the main nitrate (NO3 −) sources, with the nitrification of N-containing organic materials serving as another important source of NO3 −. In the downstream, with minor variations in hydrological conditions, nitrification played a more important role than assimilation for the decreasing ammonium (NH4 +-N) concentrations. The N isotopic enrichment factors (ε) during NH4 + utilization ranged from −13.88‰in March to −29.00‰in July. The ratio of the increase in δ18O and δ15N of river NO3 − in the downstream was 1.04 in January and 0.92 in March. This ratio indicated that NO3 − assimilation by phytoplankton was responsible for the increasing δ15Nand δ18O values ofNO3 − in winter. The relationships between δ15N of particulate organic nitrogen and isotopic compositions of dissolved inorganic nitrogen indicated that the phytoplankton in the Taige River probably utilized NH4 + preferentially and mainly in summer, while in winter, NO3 − assimilation by phytoplankton was dominant
Tags: nitrogen , oxygen , soil , poll , gashead

Using dual isotopes to evaluate sources and transformations of nitrate in the West Lake watershed, eastern China
Journal of Contaminant Hydrology (2015)
Zanfang Jin, Xue Qin, Lingxiao Chen, Mantong Jin, Feili Li

TheWest Lake is aWorldHeritage site in theWest Lakewatershed in eastern China. In this study, the hydrogeological and dual isotopic approaches were integrated to evaluate the seasonal and spatial variations of nitrate (NO3 −) in the West Lakewatershed, and to characterize NO3 − sources and transformations. The results revealed that the geochemical facies of thewater sampleswere dominated by Ca2++Na+–HCO3 −+SO4 2−in the surfacewater and transferwater, Ca2++Na+– HCO3 −and Ca2++Na+–SO4 2−in the groundwater,whichmost likely reflect natural reactions and anthropogenic inputs. About 13% of the groundwater samples containing NO3 − exceeded the WorldHealthOrganization (WHO) standard of 10mgNL−1.NO3 −was the dominant formof total nitrogen (TN) and was the main surface water contaminant in the West Lake watershed. The δ15NNO3 and δ18ONO3 values indicated that the dominant NO3 − sources in surface water were soil nitrogen (soilN) and chemical fertilizers,while themainNO3 −sources ingroundwaterwere soilN from the forest, chemical fertilizers and manure in the tea garden, domestic sewage from the small, old residential area in the forest as well as urban areas. The distribution of NO3 − in groundwaterwas strongly influenced by land use. Results also suggest that therewas significant nitrification in surface water and groundwater in the West Lakewatershed, and that there were also denitrification processes in groundwater. The annual net fluxes of TN,NO3 −,andNH4 +into the West Lakewere 2.0 × 104,4.0 ×103, and 1.31 × 104 kg as N, respectively.
Tags: nitrogen , oxygen , poll , gashead

Stable isotope-based statistical tools as ecological indicator of pollution sources in Mediterranean transitional water ecosystems
Ecological Indicators (2015)
Giovanna Jona-Lasinio, Maria Letizia Costantini, Edoardo Calizza, Alessio Pollice, Flavia Bentivoglio, Lucia Orlandi, Giulio Careddu, Loreto Rossi

N-stable isotope analysis of macroalgae has become a popular method for the monitoring of nitrogen pollution in aquatic ecosystems. Basing on changes in their ı15N, macroalgae have been successfully used as biological traps to intercept nitrogen inputs. As different nitrogen sources differ in their isotopic signature, this technique provides useful information on the origin of pollutants and their extension in the water body. However, isotopic fractionation potentially resulting from microbial nitrogen processing, and indirect isotopic variations due to effects of physicochemical conditions on algal nutrient uptake and metabolism, may affect anthropogenic N isotopic values during transportation and assimilation. This in turn can affect the observed isotopic signature in the algal tissue, inducing isotopic variations not related to the origin of assimilated nitrogen, representing a “background noise” in isotope-based water pollution studies. In this study, we focused on three neighbouring coastal lakes (Caprolace, Fogliano and Sabaudia lakes) located south of Rome (Italy). Lakes were characterized by differences in terms of anthropogenic pressure (i.e. urbanization, cultivated crops, livestock grazing) and potential “background noise” levels (i.e. nutri- ent concentration, pH, microbial concentration). Our aim was to assess nitrogen isotopic variations in fragments of Ulva lactuca specimens after 48 h of submersion to identify and locate the origins of nitro- gen pollutants affecting each lake. ı15N were obtained for replicated specimens of U. lactuca spatially distributed to cover the entire surface of each lake, previously collected from a benchmark, unpolluted site. In order to reduce the environmental background noise on isotopic observations, a Bayesian hierar- chical model relating isotopic variation to environmental covariates and random spatial effects was used to describe and understand the distribution of isotopic signals in each lake. Our procedure (i) allowed to remove background noise and confounding effects from the observed isotopic signals; (ii) allowed to detect “hidden” pollution sources that would not be detected when not accounting for the confounding effect of environmental background noise; (iii) produced maps of the three lakes providing a clear representation of the isotopic signal variation even where background noise was high. Maps were useful to locate nitrogen pollution sources, identify the origin of the dissolved nitrogen and quantify the extent of pollutants, showing localized organic pollution impacting Sabaudia and Fogliano, but not Caprolace. This method provided a clear characterization of both intra- and inter- lake anthropogenic pressure gradients, representing a powerful approach to the ecological indication and

The Biogeochemistry of Metal-Contaminated Peatlands in Sudbury, Ontario, Canada
Water, Air, & Soil Pollution (2015)
P. R. Pennington, S. Watmough

Understanding the biogeochemistry of metal-contaminated peatlands is important for predicting the impact of mining and industrial activities on peatlands and downstream surface waters and for predicting recovery of previously impacted sites. The objective of this work was to characterize the factors controlling spatial and temporal variability in surface peat (0–15 cm) and pore water chemistry of 18 regionally representative peatlands in Sudbury, Ontario, Canada. The pollution gradient is clearly evident as Cu and Ni concentrations in surface peat are elevated close to the main Copper Cliff smelter. Surface peat also differs greatly in acidity (pH) and organic matter content among sites, and dissolved organic carbon (DOC) concentrations in pore water are positively correlated with peat carbon content. In addition, sites having surface peat that is more decomposed also have pore water DOC that is more humified. Pore water chemistry varies seasonally; samples taken in late summer and fall were characterized by higher SO4, and lower pH and higher concentrations of base cations and metals such as Ni, Co, and Mn compared with those in late spring that had higher DOC, higher pH, and higher concentrations of metals such as Cu and Fe. Despite the large spatial and temporal variability in pore water chemistry, soil-solution partitioning (K d) of some metals (Ni, Co, and Mn) can be explained by pH alone. Modeling soil-solution partitioning for these metals and Cu, Al, and Fe is significantly improved with the addition of SO4; dissolved organic matter quality and quantity and/or the δ18O signature of the pore water in regression models indicating several factors other than acidity has an influence on pore water chemistry.

Feathers as an integrated measure of organohalogen contamination , dietary tracers and stress in Goshawk ( Accipiter gentilis ) nestlings from Trøndelag , Norway Sina Thu Randulff
Thesis (2015)
Sina Thu Randulff

Because of their high sensitivity and wide distribution, predatory birds have proven useful as sentinel species for monitoring exposure of organohalogen contaminants (OHCs). Nestling feathers have been evaluated as valid non-destructive sample matrices for OHCs, and are also believed to be useful biomatrices for the detection of effect parameters of OHC exposure. In this thesis, we investigated the prevalence of OHCs in body feathers, blood plasma and preen oil of Goshawk nestlings (Accipiter gentilis) from Trøndelag, Norway. Additionally, the suitability of using feathers as an integrated biomarker for OHC exposure and effects was assessed by simultaneously detecting stable isotopes (SIs; δ 13C and δ 15N) and corticosterone (CORT) in feathers. Polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), organochlorinated pesticides (OCPs) and polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDEs) were detected in body feathers (median: 22.3, 19.2 and 1.63 ng g-1 dw, respectively), blood plasma (median: 7.55, 6.23 and 0.50 ng g-1 ww, respectively) and preen oil (median: 748, 606 and 18.4 ng g -1 ww, respectively). Strong, significant correlations between the OHC concentrations in the three matrices indicated that feathers and preen oil reflect the internal circulating blood levels of most OHCs. δ 13C was found to be the best predictor of OHC accumulation in feathers, indicating that the Goshawks’ dietary carbon source is of higher importance in predicting OHC exposure than trophic level, although not significant. Variation in CORT was best explained by a positive relationship to PCBs and age (not significant). Overall, this thesis presents, for the first time, an integrated measure of OHCs, SIs and CORT in Goshawk feathers. This methodological approach looks promising, and may provide increased understanding to how ecological, toxicological and physiological factors are interrelated during the whole nestling stage.
Tags: carbon , nitrogen , ecol , poll , elem

Spatial and Short-Temporal Variability of δ(13)C and δ(15)N and Water-Use Efficiency in Pine Needles of the Three Forests Along the Most Industrialized Part of Poland.
Water, air, and soil pollution (2015)
Barbara M Sensuła

In this study, stable carbon and nitrogen isotope ratios in the samples of pine needles collected in 2013 and 2014 from heavily urbanized area in close proximity to point-source pollution emitters, such as a heat and power plant, nitrogen plant, and steelworks in Silesia (Poland), were analyzed as bio-indicators of contemporary environmental changes. The carbon isotope discrimination has been proposed as a method for evaluating water-use efficiency. The measurement of carbon and nitrogen isotopes was carried out using the continuous flow isotope ratio mass spectrometer. The isotope ratio mass spectrometer allows the precise measurement of mixtures of naturally occurring isotopes. The δ(15)N values were calibrated relative to the NO-3 and USGS34 international standards, whereas the δ(13)C values were calibrated relative to the C-3 and C-5 international standards. The strong year-to-year correlations between the δ(13)C in different sampling sites, and also the inter-annual correlation of δ(15)N values in the pine needles at each of the investigated sampling sites confirm that the measured δ(13)C and δ(15)N and also intrinsic water-use efficiency (iWUE) trends are representative of the sampling site. Diffuse air pollution caused the variation in δ (13)C, δ(15)N, and iWUE dependent on type of emitter, the localization in the space (distance and direction) from factories and some local effect of other human activities. The complex short-term variation analysis can be helpful to distinguish isotopic fractionation, which is not an effect explainable by climatic conditions but by the anthropogenic effect. Between 2012 and 2014, an increase in iWUE is observed at leaf level.