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Journal of Environmental Quality Abstract - Organic Compounds in the Environment

Accidental Organochlorine Pesticide Contamination of Soil in Porriño, Spain


This article in JEQ

  1. Vol. 36 No. 1, p. 272-279
    Received: Feb 7, 2006

    * Corresponding author(s): mandrade@uvigo.es
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  1. F. A. Vega,
  2. E. F. Covelo and
  3. M. L. Andrade *
  1. Dep. de Biología Vegetal y Ciencia del Suelo, Univ. de Vigo, Lagoas, Marcosende, 36310 Vigo, España


In the 1960s at Porriño, Spain, soil from a pesticide factory dump was placed in an uncontrolled land infill during demolition. Since then, organochlorine pesticides have degraded and migrated from their original location. Concentrations of lindane, DDT, dicofol, and related side products or degradation products were determined at depths of 0 to 20, 20 to 60 and 60 to 100 cm along a 300-m transect running between the land infill and a nearby river. Depthwise nonmonotonicities (lowest concentrations of DDT and dicofol were found in the 20- to 60-cm layer) were attributed to the occurrence of several successive spill episodes; in general, concentrations were highest or near-highest in the 0- to 20-cm layer. At the dump site, the analyte contents of the 0- to 20-cm layer were as follows: α-hexachlorocyclohexane (α-HCH), 25 mg kg−1; β-HCH, 15 mg kg−1; γ-HCH (lindane), 1.3 mg kg−1; δ-HCH, 0.5 mg kg−1; DDT, 2.5 mg kg−1; dicofol, 0.05 mg kg−1; DDD + DDE, 2.2 mg kg−1 The α-HCH/γ-HCH ratio was higher than in commercial products, and the DDT/(DDD + DDE) ratio lower, suggesting the degradation of lindane and DDT with time. In general, the concentrations of HCH isomers, DDT, and dicofol fell with increasing distance from the dump site; in particular, the rapid fall in HCH concentrations illustrates the marked immobility of these species in the soil. By contrast, the combined concentration of the DDT degradation products DDD and DDE rose with distance from the dump site, which is attributed to their higher mobility.

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