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UI engineers conduct residential soils study, one of few such US studies ever done
Date:11/29/2011

UI engineers conduct residential soils study, one of few such U.S. studies ever done

University of Iowa engineers have published their findings from a study of residential soils in the city of Cedar Rapids, making it one of only a few such U.S. urban soil studies ever conducted.

The authors of the study, published in the November online edition of the journal Environmental Pollution, collected soils in the residential areas of downtown Cedar Rapids and analyzed them for industrial pollutants known as PCBs (polychlorinated biphyenyls) and chlordanes. Measured values for both chemical groups were found to be similar to other urban/industrial sites around the world. Also, measured values were found to be of the same order of magnitude as the provisional threshold recommended by the U.S. EPA to perform soil remediation.

Project principal investigator Keri Hornbuckle, UI professor of civil and environmental engineering and researcher at IIHR-Hydroscience and Engineering, says that soil often stores residual amounts of persistent organic pollutants such as PCBs and chlordanes and -- because children and others can be be exposed on a regular basis -- contaminated soil may be a source of concern.

Hornbuckle notes that her study is somewhat unique because the few existing reports of chlordanes or PCBs in U.S. soil samples concern remote, unpopulated areas. In researching similar studies, she found only one study reporting chlordanes and two reporting PCBs for U.S. urban-residential soil concentrations. She adds that her study was aided by the fact that she grew up in Cedar Rapids and that several former Cedar Rapids teachers -- who were very familiar with the city -- assisted the team while sampling was being conducted.

During the historic floods of 2008, flooding of the Cedar River exceeded the historical record of flood discharge in Cedar Rapids and affected a large portion of residential, commercial, and industrial
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Contact: Jennifer Brown
jennifer-l-brown@uiowa.edu
319-356-7124
University of Iowa Health Care
Source:Eurekalert

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