Sources and dechlorination of polychlorinated biphenyl congeners in the sediments of Fox River, Wisconsin

Imamoglu I., Lı K., Chrıstensen E., Mcmullın J.

ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCE & TECHNOLOGY, vol.38, pp.2574-2583, 2004 (SCI-Expanded) identifier identifier

  • Publication Type: Article / Article
  • Volume: 38
  • Publication Date: 2004
  • Doi Number: 10.1021/es035165x
  • Journal Indexes: Science Citation Index Expanded (SCI-EXPANDED), Scopus
  • Page Numbers: pp.2574-2583
  • Middle East Technical University Affiliated: Yes


Polychlorinated biphenyl (PCB) congeners were analyzed in eight deep, dated sediment cores collected from the immediate upstream and downstream of DePere dam in Fox River, Wisconsin. The average time span of the cores is about 100 yr, except for one core (FR-9) which is influenced by mixing or covers a short time period (2 yr). The total PCB concentrations have a range of 0.2-6.8 ppm for the upstream and 0.3-17.6 ppm for the downstream cores. The PCB data obtained from the sampling were analyzed as upstream and downstream data, using a factor analysis (FA) model with nonnegative constraints to identify PCB sources and congener patterns. The factor loadings obtained from the FA model were interpreted in terms of the presence of possible environmental degradation mechanisms. In addition, a recently developed model, which is used to identify and quantify possible pathways of anaerobic dechlorination of PCBs in the sediments, was validated on the basis of in situ data from the literature, and then applied to the congener patterns obtained from the FA model. The major PCB source to the Fox River sediments is identified as Aroclor 1242, for both the upstream and the downstream sediments. Loss of di- and trichlorobiphenyls (e.g., 2-4, 25-2) from the sediments suggests desorption from the sediments. On the other hand, observation of elevated amounts of certain congeners such as 24-3 and 25-3 indicates the presence of anaerobic dechlorination activity. The anaerobic dechlorination model demonstrates significant similarities between the Aroclor 1242 profile altered according to dechlorination processes Q (upstream) and H' (downstream) and the dominant congener patterns obtained from the FA model.