Contamination Sources



Waste & Pollution

As the urban population is growing globally and this effect is coupled with increasing consumption, waste management has become one of the most serious environmental challenges in urban areas, with adverse effects on the quality of life, human health, environmental and natural resources, and economic and social development. It is important to know the composition of a load of waste before it is send to landfill. On the other hand, only through developing an intimate understanding of the chemistry of organic chemicals can their eventual remediation be realized.

TOC in waste

Landfills are classified according to whether they can accept hazardous, non-hazardous or inert wastes. In waste management, TOC acts as a measure for contamination with organic compounds and is also used to perform quality control (QC) checks on industrial materials such as fly ash, cement, and kaolin. Also if you evaluate the recycling of residues – there is no way around TOC.

Temperature-dependent carbon fractions

The differentiation between two carbon fractions (TIC and TOC) could be insufficient as biologically inactive, residual oxidizable carbon is determined in the same fraction as TOC. When evaluating solid wastes, elemental carbon (ROC) should be determined separately, since there is no need to restrict the load of ROC to landfills. An alternative method for the determination of elemental carbon is temperature ramping as elemental carbon requires higher combustion temperatures compared to organically-bound carbon, which is realized by the soli TOC® cube.

Sources and fate of contamination

Stable isotope analysis has the power to deliver unparalleled insight into the complex interactions of organic pollutants in the environment. It can elucidate the often complex sources and fates of pollutant chemicals on land and at sea, aiding remediation strategy and shaping waste and resource management policy for protection of the environment. Developing our understanding of these processes aids our stewardship of the natural world to ensure that future generations enjoy the same wonders that we do today.

Waste & Pollution publications using our instruments

Our customers use our instruments to do some amazing research in the waste and pollution application field. To show you how they perform their research and how they use our IRMS instruments, we have collected a range of peer-reviewed publications which cite our products. You can find the citations below and then follow the links to the publishing journal should you wish to download the publication.

If you would like to investigate our available citations in more detail, or email the citation list to yourself or your colleagues then take a look at our full citation database.

84 results:

Rapid environmental change during dynastic transitions in Yunnan Province, China
Quaternary Science Reviews (2014)
Aubrey L. Hillman, JunQing Yu, Mark B. Abbott, Colin A. Cooke, Daniel J. Bain, Byron A. Steinman

Pollution and eutrophication of Chinese lakes are widely perceived to be 20th century phenomena. However, China has a long history of deforestation, agriculture, mineral resource extraction, and other anthropogenic activities that impact the environment. Here, we present a sediment record from Xing Yun Lake in the Yunnan Province of China that reveals significant alterations to the lake, its ecosystem, and its watershed beginning as early as 500 AD. A comprehensive suite of biogeochemical and isotopic proxies reveal several rapid transitions related to changes in agriculture and lake-level management that coincides with cultural and dynastic transitions. The deterioration of contemporary environmental conditions at Xing Yun arises from a long history of anthropogenic manipulation, eutrophication, and pollution of the lake and its watershed. This study highlights the importance of using historical records of industrial and agricultural activities, including landscape modification, in conjunction with records of climate change, to place present day environmental concerns into a long-term context. © 2014 Elsevier Ltd.
Tags: carbon , arch , poll , clim , mulitcarb

Biomonitoring of traffic-related nitrogen pollution using Letharia vulpina (L.) Hue in the Sierra Nevada, California
Science of the Total Environment (2014)
R. Bermejo-Orduna, J. R. McBride, K. Shiraishi, D. Elustondo, E. Lasheras, J. M. Santamaría

To assess the impact of vehicular emissions on a mixed conifer forest, we measured the contents of the trace elements, N, C, and their respective natural isotopes (δ15N and δ13C), in the epiphytic lichen, L. vulpina. The samples were collected along transects perpendicular to Interstate 80 (I-80) and along a more remote, secondary forest road (R07). Distance to the road verge, trunk cover, and stand basal area were also recorded. Percent N ranged from 1.10% to 2.00% near I-80 and from 0.78% to 1.13% along R07. Concentrations of N, 15N, Na, As, Pb, and Zn were enhanced in lichen samples near I-80 and were negatively correlated with distance from the road. Trunk cover values differed between roads (p<0.001) and were negatively correlated with %N (r2=0.74; p<0.001). The results indicate that vehicular N emissions are significant enough to alter the surrounding ecosystem, modifying the presence of a sensitive component such as L. vulpina, and suggest that a clean-site threshold of 1.0%N may be too high as an indicator of critical N load exceedance. The study also underscored the potential role of wolf lichen in a large-scale assessment of N deposition and source identification. © 2014 Elsevier B.V.
Tags: carbon , nitrogen , poll , elem

Solvent-based dissolution method to sample gas-phase volatile organic compounds for compound-specific isotope analysis.
Journal of chromatography. A (2014)
Daniel Bouchard, Daniel Hunkeler

An investigation was carried out to develop a simple and efficient method to collect vapour samples for compound specific isotope analysis (CSIA) by bubbling vapours through an organic solvent (methanol or ethanol). The compounds tested were benzene and trichloroethylene (TCE). The dissolution efficiency was tested for different air volume injections, using flow rates ranging from 25ml/min to 150ml/min and injection periods varying between 10 and 40min. Based on the results, complete mass recovery for benzene and TCE in both solvents was observed for the flow rates of 25 and 50ml/min. However, small mass loss was observed at increased flow rate. At 150ml/min, recovery was on average 80±17% for benzene and 84±10% for TCE, respectively in methanol and ethanol. The δ(13)C data measured for benzene and TCE dissolved in both solvents were reproducible and were stable independently of the volume of air injected (up to 6L) or the flow rate used. The stability of δ(13)C values hence underlines no isotopic fractionation due to compound-solvent interaction or mass loss. The development of a novel and simple field sampling technique undertaken in this study will facilitate the application of CSIA to diverse gas-phase volatile organic compound studies, such as atmospheric emissions, soil gas or vapour intrusion.
Tags: carbon , poll , gaschrom

Characterization and source identification of organic matter in view of land uses and heavy rainfall in the Lake Shihwa , Korea
Marine pollution bulletin (2014)
Yeonjung Lee, Jin Hur, Kyung-hoon Shin

The characteristics and sources of organic matter in water of the Lake Shihwa, which receives inputs from rural, urban, and industrial areas, were evaluated by examining the biodegradable organic carbon con- centration, fluorescence spectra, and carbon and nitrogen isotope ratios, especially during rainy season and dry season. The organic matter transported from rural areas was of refractory nature, while that of industrial origin decomposed rapidly. As compared to the dry season, the organic matter in the rainy sea- son was characterized by a reduced labile fraction. During the dry season, the autochthonous organic matter dominated in the lake, however, the contributions of allochthonous organic sources by industrial and rural areas significantly increased at rainy season. This investigation revealed that the transport of organic matter of anthropogenic origin to the Lake Shihwa was mainly influenced by heavy rainfall. Moreover, each anthropogenic source could differently influence the occurrence of organic matter in water of the Lake Shihwa
Tags: carbon , nitrogen , ocea , poll , elem

Brominated and phosphorus flame retardants in White-tailed Eagle Haliaeetus albicilla nestlings: bioaccumulation and associations with dietary proxies (δ¹³C, δ¹⁵N and δ³⁴S).
The Science of the total environment (2014)
Igor Eulaers, Veerle L B Jaspers, Duncan J Halley, Gilles Lepoint, Torgeir Nygård, Rianne Pinxten, Adrian Covaci, Marcel Eens

Very little is known on the exposure of high trophic level species to current-use brominated (BFRs) and phosphorus flame retardants (PFRs), although observations on their persistence, bioaccumulation potential, and toxicity have been made. We investigated the accumulation of BFRs and PFRs, and their associations with dietary proxies (δ(13)C, δ(15)N and δ(34)S), in plasma and feathers of White-tailed Eagle Haliaeetus albicilla nestlings from Trøndelag, Norway. In addition to accumulation of a wide range of polybrominated diphenyl ether (PBDE) congeners in both plasma and feathers, all non-PBDE BFRs and PFRs could be measured in feathers, while in plasma only two of six PFRs, i.e. tris-(2-chloroisopropyl) phosphate (TCIPP) and tris-(2,3-dichloropropyl) phosphate (TDCPP) were detected. PFR concentrations in feathers (0.95-3,000 ng g(-1)) were much higher than selected organochlorines (OCs), such as polychlorinated biphenyl 153 (CB 153; 2.3-15 ng g(-1)) and dichlorodiphenyldichloroethylene (p,p'-DDE; 2.3-21 ng g(-1)), PBDEs (0.03-2.3 ng g(-1)) and non-PBDE BFRs (0.03-1.5 ng g(-1)). Non-significant associations of PFR concentrations in feathers with those in plasma (P ≥ 0.74), and their similarity to reported atmospheric PFR concentrations, may suggest atmospheric PFR deposition on feathers. Most OCs and PBDEs, as well as tris(chloroethyl) phosphate (TCEP), tris(phenyl) phosphate (TPHP) and tri-(2-butoxyethyl) phosphate (TBOEP) were associated to δ(15)N and/or δ(13)C (all P ≤ 0.02). Besides δ(15)N enrichment, δ(34)S was depleted in nestlings from fjords, inherently close to an urbanised centre. As such, both may have been a spatial proxy for anthropogenic disturbance, possible confounding their use as dietary proxy.
Tags: carbon , nitrogen , sulfur , ecol , poll , elem

Isotope geochemistry of waters affected by mining activities in Sierra Minera and Portman Bay (SE, Spain)
Applied Geochemistry (2014)
Mari Luz García-Lorenzo, María José Martínez-Sánchez, Carmen Pérez-Sirvent, Inés Agudo, Clemente Recio

The objective of this work was to evaluate processes affecting waters from Portman Bay by way of stable isotopic analysis, particularly H and O stable isotopes from water and S and O from dissolved sulfates. In addition, surface waters from Sierra Minera were examined for the purpose of determining if these waters are affected by similar processes. The results obtained indicate that Portman Bay waters are mete- oric, and marine infiltration only takes place in the deepest layers near the shore or if water remains stag- nated in sediments with low permeability. The main source of sulfate was the oxidation of sulfides, resulting in the liberation of acid, sulfate and metals. In order to assess the mechanism responsible for sulfide oxidation, the stoichiometric isotope balance model and the general isotope balance model were tested, suggesting that the oxidation via Fe3+ was predominant in the surface, and controlled by Acidithio- bacillus ferrooxidans, while at depth, sulfate reduction occurred.
Tags: hydrogen , oxygen , sulfur , geol , poll , elem

δ(15)N variation in Ulva lactuca as a proxy for anthropogenic nitrogen inputs in coastal areas of Gulf of Gaeta (Mediterranean Sea).
Marine pollution bulletin (2014)
Lucia Orlandi, Flavia Bentivoglio, Pasquale Carlino, Edoardo Calizza, David Rossi, Maria Letizia Costantini, Loreto Rossi

We tested the capacity of Ulva lactuca to mark N sources across large marine areas by measuring variation in its δ(15)N at several sites in the Gulf of Gaeta. Comparisons were made with the macroalga Cystoseira amentacea. Variation of δ(15)N values was assessed also in the coastal waters off the Circeo Natural Park, where U. lactuca and C. amentacea were harvested, as these waters are barely influenced by human activities and were used as reference site. A small fragment from each frond was preserved before deployment in order to characterize the initial isotopic values. After 48 h of submersion, U. lactuca was more responsive than C. amentacea to environmental variation and δ(15)N enrichment in the Gulf of Gaeta was observed. The spatial distribution of δ(15)N enrichment indicated that different macro-areas in the Gulf were affected by N inputs from different origins. Comparison of the δ(15)N values of fragments taken from the same transplanted frond avoided bias arising from natural isotopic variability.
Tags: nitrogen , ecol , poll , elem

Application of compound-specific stable carbon isotope analysis for the biotransformation and trophic dynamics of PBDEs in a feeding study with fish
Environmental Pollution (2013)
Xiao Jun Luo, Yan Hong Zeng, Hua Shan Chen, Jiang Ping Wu, She Jun Chen, Bi Xian Mai

The debromination and trophic dynamics of PBDEs in fish and whether or not compound-specific isotopic analysis (CSIA) can be used to trace these processes were investigated. Two predator/prey relationships were established in laboratory by two predatory fish species, oscar fish (OF) and redtail catfish (RF) feeding on tiger barb (TB) exposed to a commercial PBDE mixture. Metabolic debromination of PBDEs was observed in the TB and the OF, but not in the RF. The calculated biomagnification factors (BMFs) were uniform for most of the congeners in RF/TB but varied in OF/TB, which can be attributed to the metabolic debromination in the OF. The ??13C values of BDE47 and BDE28 were lower in fish than in those in the commercial mixture but the ??13C values of BDE99 were slightly higher. These results indicated that CSIA can be used to trace the biotransformation of PBDEs in biota. ?? 2013
Tags: carbon , ecol , poll , gaschrom

Fossil organic carbon in wastewater and its fate in treatment plants.
Water research (2013)
Yingyu Law, Geraldine E Jacobsen, Andrew M Smith, Zhiguo Yuan, Paul Lant

This study reports the presence of fossil organic carbon in wastewater and its fate in wastewater treatment plants. The findings pinpoint the inaccuracy of current greenhouse gas accounting guidelines which defines all organic carbon in wastewater to be of biogenic origin. Stable and radiocarbon isotopes ((13)C and (14)C) were measured throughout the process train in four municipal wastewater treatment plants equipped with secondary activated sludge treatment. Isotopic mass balance analyses indicate that 4-14% of influent total organic carbon (TOC) is of fossil origin with concentrations between 6 and 35 mg/L; 88-98% of this is removed from the wastewater. The TOC mass balance analysis suggests that 39-65% of the fossil organic carbon from the influent is incorporated into the activated sludge through adsorption or from cell assimilation while 29-50% is likely transformed to carbon dioxide (CO2) during secondary treatment. The fossil organic carbon fraction in the sludge undergoes further biodegradation during anaerobic digestion with a 12% decrease in mass. 1.4-6.3% of the influent TOC consists of both biogenic and fossil carbon is estimated to be emitted as fossil CO2 from activated sludge treatment alone. The results suggest that current greenhouse gas accounting guidelines, which assume that all CO2 emission from wastewater is biogenic may lead to underestimation of emissions.
Tags: carbon , poll , elem

Stable hydrogen-isotope analysis of methyl chloride emitted from heated halophytic plants
Atmospheric Environment (2012)
Markus Greule, Stefan G. Huber, Frank Keppler

Stable isotope techniques are increasingly applied to study atmospheric budgets of methyl halides. Here we use compound specific thermal conversion isotope ratio mass spectrometry to measure the stable hydrogen isotope values of methyl chloride (d2HCH3Cl) released thermally from dried leaves of halophyte plants collected from different geographical locations.We developed an automated purification and pre- concentration unit to enable measurement of d2HCH3Cl from samples (100 ml) when mixing ratios were as low as 1 ppmv. Even though this is considerably higher than normal atmospheric mixing ratios this unit enabled measurement of the d2H values of CH3Cl released during heating of samples at temperatures ranging from 30 to 300 ?C. No substantial changes of d2HCH3Cl values were observed over this temper- ature range. However, the d2HCH3Cl values of all plants examined were strongly depleted (?178 ? 34&) relative to the d2H values of their modelled meteoric water, but differ only by 1e50& from those observed for their methoxyl groups. Our results indicate that plant methoxyl groups are an important precursor of the methyl group for CH3Cl thermally emitted from lyophilised and homogenized dry halophyte leaves. Furthermore, the thermal reaction producing CH3Cl did not show a substantial kinetic hydrogen isotope fractionation between CH3Cl and precursor methoxyl groups over the temperature range investigated. Moreover, we found a moderate linear correlation (R2 ¼ 0.37) for the relationship between d2HCH3Cl values released from halophytes and the d2H values of modelled precipitation at their geographical locations. As CH3Cl emissions from terrestrial vegetation, including senescent and dry plants and biomass burning, are considered to provide a substantial fraction of the global emissions our findings are important when establishing a global hydrogen isotope model for atmospheric CH3Cl
Tags: hydrogen , soil , poll , gaschrom