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Environmental Health - Toxic Substances

Research Projects

Fate of Organic Compounds in River Systems, Calcasieu River, Louisiana

USGS scientist dissecting blue crabs
USGS scientist dissecting blue crabs (Callinectes sapidus) as part of a study of the distribution of halogenated organic compounds (HOCs) in sediments, water, and aquatic animals of the Calcasieu River Estuary, Louisiana
(Click on photo for larger version)

Petrochemical wastes have contaminated the river and estuarine environment along the Lower Calcasieu River in Louisiana. The wastes include volatile organic compounds (like gasoline) and chlorinated organic compounds (like chloroform). This study, now concluded, focused on the movement and transformation of these toxic chemicals in water, bottom sediments, and aquatic organisms. A brackish-water clam, Rangia cuneata, was used to detect contaminants at concentrations below analytical detection limits. Information on the occurrence of contaminants and on mechanisms of their remobilization from bed sediments has affected the design of dredging operations and the issuing of permits for industrial discharges.

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Page Last Modified: Friday, 29-Apr-2016 12:47:11 EDT