Navigation Links
University of Houston researcher receives grant to study water pollutants

A University of Houston environmental engineer will test parts of Galveston Bay for toxic chemicals in an effort to help state officials determine the best way to handle those pollutants.

Hanadi Rifai will conduct the Galveston Bay research project through a Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ) grant that is an extension of an award she received last fall for similar research in the Houston Ship Channel. The latest grant increases the total amount awarded for this research to $500,000.

Specifically, Rifai will test certain bodies of water for dioxins, which are highly toxic byproducts of many industrial processes, and polychlorinated biphenyl's, or PCBs, a class of chemical compounds used in many commercial applications until their production was banned in the U.S. in 1979.

"These pollutants are nasty 21st-century realities that we have to deal with," Rifai said. "They present a complex challenge because they're in the air, in the soil and in the water. The pathway of exposure in this particular case is by ingesting contaminated seafood."

Rifai and her research team will gather water, sediment and marine life samples at various locations in the ship channel and Galveston Bay to identify the source of pollutants and areas in the water and sediment with high concentrations of dioxins and PCBs. Additionally, researchers will determine concentrations of these pollutants in the tissues of marine life, with a focus on prized species such as trout and croaker.

Their findings likely will be used by the TCEQ to determine the best way to manage these pollutants. Possible actions include bioremediation techniques that essentially neutralize the harmful chemicals and commercial fishing bans in certain areas. Sediment removal is also a possibility, Rifai said, though that method has stirred up pollutants in the sediment in certain areas, resulting in more harmful chemicals being released into the water.

By expanding this research effort, the TCEQ is signaling that it will likely invest more resources into dioxin and PCB research and remediation during the next few years, Rifai said.

"The state wants to take a holistic view of all the state waters and figure out what's going on with dioxin and PCBs," she said. "The expanded scope of this grant is a sign that they are actually going to do this, and researchers are going to get the resources to make it happen."

Rifai and her team have had success in locating pollutants in some Houston-area waters. Her team was instrumental in locating a former waste site at Interstate 10 and the San Jacinto River that was the source of significant dioxin pollution. That area is now an EPA Superfund cleanup site.

Rifai is a professor in the UH Cullen College of Engineering's civil and environmental engineering department and director of the environmental engineering graduate program. She also is co-director of the Severe Storm Prediction, Education and Evacuation from Disasters (SSPEED) Center, a consortium involving several universities. At SSPEED, her efforts are largely focused on developing an understanding of what is at risk in the ship channel in light of hurricanes and severe storms that affect the region.


Contact: Laura Tolley
University of Houston

Related medicine news :

1. Clemson University research team to lead accessible voting technology project
2. Group led by Hebrew University professor chosen as Israeli Center for Research Excellence
3. Indiana University neuroscientists map a new target to wipe pain away
4. New University of Houston research study links job stress in teachers to student achievement
5. Medicare improved Canadian doctors salaries: Queens University study
6. Hebrew University researchers show octopuses make some pretty good moves
7. 3 University of Houston students chosen as Albert Schweitzer Fellows
8. Yale and Rush University scientists receive Sanberg Awards from ASNTR
9. Thomas Jefferson University and hospitals tasked to find new radiation drugs
10. Hebrew University researchers demonstrate why DNA breaks down in cancer cells
11. Boston University researchers validate important roles of iPSCs in regenerative medicine
Post Your Comments:
(Date:11/25/2015)... ... November 25, 2015 , ... ... Water For Empowerment ™ attracts volunteers together who want to combine talents ... women as key stakeholders in the process. The non-profit launched its first major ...
(Date:11/25/2015)... ... November 25, 2015 , ... Finnleo, a leader in ... on several models of traditional and far-infrared saunas. , For traditional saunas, ... the most traditional Finnish sauna wood, and Finnleo uses only European Grade A Nordic ...
(Date:11/25/2015)... Cokato, MN (PRWEB) , ... November 25, 2015 ... ... manufacturer, launched offering factory direct sauna parts and accessories. , Sauna accessories ... representative of the bather’s style and personality. From basic styles for the purist ...
(Date:11/25/2015)... ... November 26, 2015 , ... Ministers, ... Union (EU), ANDI Pan African Centres of Excellence, and public R&D institutions, civil ... for the opening of the 5th African Network for Drugs and Diagnostics Innovation, ...
(Date:11/25/2015)... Friendswood, TX (PRWEB) , ... November 25, 2015 , ... ... through the companies’ “ Two Organizations, One Beat ” campaign. The partnership between the ... its services to aid in MAP International’s cause. , MAP International was founded in ...
Breaking Medicine News(10 mins):
(Date:11/26/2015)... ) has announced ... High Viscosity Drugs" report to their offering. ... addition of the "Self Administration of High ... --> Research and Markets ( ) ... Administration of High Viscosity Drugs" report to ...
(Date:11/25/2015)... Nov. 25, 2015 ... of the "Global Brain Monitoring Devices ... --> ) has announced ... Monitoring Devices Market 2015-2019" report to ... Markets ( ) has announced the ...
(Date:11/25/2015)... 2015  Linden Care, LLC, a retail specialty pharmacy ... patients suffering from chronic pain, said today that it ... Order (TRO) enjoining Express Scripts from unilaterally terminating the ... --> --> The company said ... options. --> --> ...
Breaking Medicine Technology: