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Characterization and assessment of contaminated soil and groundwater at an organic chemical plant site in Chongqing, Southwest China

Liu, Geng, Niu, Junjie, Zhang, Chao, Guo, Guanlin
Environmental geochemistry and health 2016 v.38 no.2 pp. 607-618
benzene, chemistry, ecosystems, ethylene dichloride, groundwater, groundwater contamination, human health, models, neoplasms, polluted soils, risk, river water, soil pollution, soil sampling, China
Contamination from organic chemical plants can cause serious pollution of soil and groundwater ecosystems. To characterize soil contamination and to evaluate the health risk posed by groundwater at a typical organic chemical plant site in Chongqing, China, 91 soil samples and seven groundwater samples were collected. The concentrations of different contaminants and their three-dimensional distribution were determined based on the 3D-krige method. Groundwater chemistry risk index (Chem RI) and cancer risk were calculated based on TRIAD and RBCA models. The chemistry risk indices of groundwater points SW5, SW18, SW22, SW39, SW52, SW80, and SW82 were 0.4209, 0.9972, 0.9324, 0.9990, 0.9991, 1.0000, and 1.0000, respectively, indicating that the groundwater has poor environmental status. By contrast, the reference Yangtse River water sample showed no pollution with a Chem RI of 0.1301. Benzene and 1,2-dichloroethane were the main contaminants in the groundwater and were responsible for the elevated cancer risk. The cumulative health risk of groundwater points (except SW5 and SW18) were all higher than the acceptable baselines of 10⁻⁶, which indicates that the groundwater poses high cancer risk. Action is urgently required to control and remediate the risk for human health and groundwater ecosystems.