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Michigan State University

Superfund Research Program

Factors Controlling the Environmental Mobility, Microbial Transformation and Toxicity of Mixed Non-Aqueous Phase Liquids and Exposed Soils/Sediments

Project Leader: Walter J. Weber (University of Michigan)
Grant Number: P42ES004911
Funding Period: 1995 - 2006

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Project Summary (2000-2006)

The overall purpose of this project is to assess the environmental mobility, biotreatability, and epigenetic toxicity of polyaromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) and polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) contained in "coal tars" and "transformer oils" which have been spilled or disposed of in subsurface soil and sediment systems. The researchers are examining: (1) sorption, sequestration, and desorption processes of mixed non-aqueous phase liquid (NAPL) components as factors controlling their environmental mobility in relation to the chemical structure and character of soil and sediment organic matter; (2) relationships between the ecology and physiology of indigenous microbial consortia and the availability of contaminants to microbial transformation as factors controlling their biotreatability; and (3) the impact of these processes on epigenetic toxicity as a measure of the toxic effects of mixed organic spills of NAPL contaminants in natural porous media prior to and after biotreatment. Results will address the efficacy of risk-based endpoints as alternatives to absolute cleanup goals for the remediation of contaminated soils and sediments.

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