Getting the lead out

December 18, 2000

Scientists at the Savannah River Ecology Laboratory, a research unit of the University of Georgia, have found that a compound derived by simple enzymatic conversion from starch is successful in laboratory studies in assisting with the extraction of certain underground contaminants.

The highly weathered soils and sediments of the Atlantic Coastal Plain, that are commonly found in South Carolina, are very sandy with little organic matter, clay, and high iron content. This helps limit the physical movement of contaminants in the soil, but alone this containment is not enough to meet regulatory limits.

Author Vijay Vulava says, "Several contaminants move unhindered in these soil materials due to their rather unique clay mineralogy. We need such benign chemicals that can aid ground water remediation efforts without further mitigating the problem."

Contaminant extraction poses numerous problems including cost and finding chemical agents which will have a strong affinity for the contaminant in question, without being itself toxic. Such agents would also have to biodegrade quickly.

In previous studies, the chemicals used by scientists Vulava and co-author John Seaman showed little impact on the soil but they did increase the leachability of several organic contaminants such as DDT, tricholorbenzene and others. In the latest study, published in the journal Environmental Science Technology, the addition of these chemicals to the water used in pump-and-treat extraction methods that can enhance the removal of lead from the surface soil.

The reason the extraction works may be that the enzymatic compound may target the contaminant metal that is specifically associated with certain reactive fractions of the soil. The two soil materials used in the study were representative of the Southeastern Atlantic Coastal Plain.

Rosemary Forrest
Public Relations Coordinator

Marie Hamilton
Public Information Specialist

John Seaman- 803-725-0977

Vijay Vulava - 803-725-2907

DOE/Savannah River Ecology Laboratory

Related Contaminants Articles from Brightsurf:

Contaminants from Mount Polley tailings spill continue to affect Quesnel lake
Natural mixing of lake waters may resuspend contaminants deposited in a catastrophic mine spill six years ago, according to a new paper led by a University of Alberta scientist.

Mix of contaminants in Fukushima wastewater, risks of ocean dumping
Nearly 10 years after the Tohoku-oki earthquake and tsunami devastated Japan's Fukushima Dai-ichi Nuclear Power, radiation levels have fallen to safe levels in all but the waters closest to the shuttered power plant.

Environmental contaminants alter gut microbiome, health
The microbes that inhabit our bodies are influenced by what we eat, drink, breathe and absorb through our skin, and most of us are chronically exposed to natural and human-made environmental contaminants.

Co-occurring contaminants may increase NC groundwater risks
Eighty-four percent of the wells sampled in the Kings Mountain Belt and the Charlotte and Milton Belts of the Piedmont region of North Carolina contained concentrations of vanadium and hexavalent chromium that exceeded health recommendations from the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services.

Study estimates more than 100,000 cancer cases could stem from contaminants in tap water
A toxic cocktail of chemical pollutants in US drinking water could result in more than 100,000 cancer cases, according to a peer-reviewed study from Environmental Working Group -- the first study to conduct a cumulative assessment of cancer risks due to 22 carcinogenic contaminants found in drinking water nationwide.

Microbe chews through PFAS and other tough contaminants
In a series of lab tests, a relatively common soil bacterium has demonstrated its ability to break down the difficult-to-remove class of pollutants called PFAS, researchers at Princeton University said.

Urban stormwater could release contaminants to ground, surface waters
A good rainstorm can make a city feel clean and revitalized.

Bronx river turtles get a check-up
A team of scientists and veterinarians gave a health evaluation of turtles living in the Bronx River, one of the most urbanized rivers in the U.S. and the only remaining freshwater river that flows through New York City.

Microbial contaminants found in popular e-cigarettes
Popular electronic cigarette (e-cigarette) products sold in the US were contaminated with bacterial and fungal toxins, according to new research from Harvard T.H.

High negative pressure limits dispersion of airborne contaminants in hospitals and renovation sites
Maintaining a high negative pressure in airborne infection isolation rooms of hospitals (over -10 Pa) and in renovation sites (over -5 Pa) effectively limits the dispersion of airborne contaminants and dust, a new study from the University of Eastern Finland shows.

Read More: Contaminants News and Contaminants Current Events is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to