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Experimental Study on the Role of Sedimentation and Degradation Processes on Atmospheric Deposition of Persistent Organic Pollutants in a Subtropical Water Column

Huang, Yumei, Zhang, Ruijie, Li, Kechang, Cheng, Zhineng, Zhong, Guangcai, Zhang, Gan, Li, Jun
Environmental Science & Technology 2017 v.51 no.8 pp. 4424-4433
DDT (pesticide), HCH (pesticide), air, atmospheric deposition, biodegradation, cis-chlordane, enantiomers, hexachlorobenzene, hydrolysis, hydrophobicity, lakes, lindane, persistent organic pollutants, trans-chlordane
The goal of this study is to experimentally assess the role of vertical sinking and degradation processes of persistent organic pollutants (POPs) in a subtropical water column. This was done by measuring the concentrations of selected typical organochlorine pesticides, including hexachlorocyclohexanes (HCHs), hexachlorobenzene (HCB), dichlorodiphenyltrichloroethanes (DDTs), trans-chlordane (TC), and cis-chlordane (CC), in atmosphere (gas phase), water (dissolved and particulate phases), and sedimentation samples simultaneously from October 2011 to April 2013 in a subtropical lake. The fugacity ratios suggested net deposition for α-HCH, γ-HCH, p,p′-DDT, p,p′-DDD, p,p′-DDE, o,p′-DDT, TC, and CC, indicating that the subtropical lake was acting as a “sink” for these chemicals. The enantiomer fractions of α-HCH, o,p′-DDT, TC, and CC in the dissolved phase samples were much more deviated from the racemic values than were those in the air samples, suggesting that these chemicals have suffered microbial degradation in the subtropical lake. In fact, 99% to 100% of atmospheric input of α-HCH and γ-HCH to the subtropical lake was estimated to be depleted via microbial degradation, while the role of hydrolysis and vertical sinking was very small. For more hydrophobic p,p′-DDT, o,p′-DDT, TC, and CC, the role of vertical sinking was 2 to 3 orders of magnitude larger than that for α-HCH and γ-HCH. Microbial degradation was also very important for removing p,p′-DDT, o,p′-DDT, TC, and CC from the water column.