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Northeastern University

Superfund Research Program

Dynamic Transport and Exposure Pathways of Phthalates and TCE In Karst Groundwater Systems

Project Leader: Ingrid Y. Padilla (University of Puerto Rico at Mayaguez)
Grant Number: P42ES017198
Funding Period: 2010-2024

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Project Summary (2010-2014)

The objective of Dr. Ingrid Padilla’s research is to determine the principal fate and transport processes for the release, mobility, persistence, and possible pathways of mixtures of organic contaminants toward potential exposures and/or remediation zones in karst groundwater systems. Dr. Padilla uses Dl(2-ethylhexyl) phthalate (DEHP) as a model semipolar organic and trichloroethylene (TCE) as a model nonpolar organic. The researchers are determining the major mechanisms influencing the fate and transport of DEHP and TCE in karst groundwater characterized by variable conduit and/or diffusion dominated flow; assessing the effect of trapped and mobile non-aqueous TCE on the fate and transport of dissolved DEHP; assessing potential contamination pathways and exposure through the karstic groundwater system in northern Puerto Rico; and exploring the mechanisms for potential release and leaching of DEHP contaminants from unlined landfills into karst groundwater systems. Specific alms will be attained through defined experimental activities, which involve data evaluation and integration at the hydrogeophysical system level and physical modeling of potential contaminant sources and fate and transport processes at the laboratory-scale level.

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