Advertisement

Environmental Geochemistry and Health

, Volume 38, Issue 5, pp 1115–1124 | Cite as

Chemical contamination of soils in the New York City area following Hurricane Sandy

  • Amy C. Mandigo
  • Dana J. DiScenza
  • Alison R. Keimowitz
  • Neil Fitzgerald
Original Paper

Abstract

This paper presents a unique data set of lead, arsenic, polychlorinated biphenyl (PCB), and polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbon (PAH) concentrations in soil samples collected from the metropolitan New York City area in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy. Initial samples were collected by citizen scientists recruited via social media, a relatively unusual approach for a sample collection project. Participants in the affected areas collected 63 usable samples from basements, gardens, roads, and beaches. Results indicate high levels of arsenic, lead, PCBs, and PAHs in an area approximately 800 feet south of the United States Environmental Protection Agency (US EPA) Superfund site at Newtown Creek. A location adjacent to the Gowanus Canal, another Superfund site, was found to have high PCB concentrations. Areas of high PAH contamination tended to be near high traffic areas or next to sites of known contamination. While contamination as a direct result of Hurricane Sandy cannot be demonstrated conclusively, the presence of high levels of contamination close to known contamination sites, evidence for co-contamination, and decrease in number of samples containing measureable amounts of semi-volatile compounds from samples collected at similar locations 9 months after the storm suggest that contaminated particles may have migrated to residential areas as a result of flooding.

Keywords

Citizen science Hurricane Sandy Soil Contamination 

Notes

Acknowledgments

The authors wish to acknowledge the citizen scientists who responded to our call to provide soil samples for the study. Particular gratitude is due to Fred Wolf, of the Pratt Institute, for his tireless sampling work. We also wish to acknowledge Hailey Steichen and Natasha Vargo (Vassar College) for their supporting work. Funding for this project was provided by internal funds from Vassar College and Marist College in addition to contributions to a crowdfunding project on Rockethub.

Supplementary material

10653_2015_9776_MOESM1_ESM.docx (19 kb)
Supplementary material 1 (DOCX 19 kb)

References

  1. Abel, M. T., Suedel, B., Presley, S. M., Rainwater, T. R., Austin, G. P., Cox, S. B., et al. (2010). Spatial distribution of lead concentration in urban surface soils of New Orleans Louisiana USA. Environmental Geochemistry and Health, 32, 379–389.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Adams, C., Witt, E. C., Wang, J., Shaver, D. K., Summers, D., Filali-Meknassi, Y., et al. (2007). Chemical quality of depositional sediments and associated soils in New Orleans and the Louisiana Peninsula following Hurricane Katrina. Environmental Science and Technology, 41, 3437–3443.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Buxton, H.T., Andersen, M.E., Focazio, M.J., Haines, J.W., Hainly, R.A., Hippe, D.J. & Sugarbaker, L.J. (2013). Meeting the science needs of the Nation in the wake of Hurricane Sandy—A US Geological Survey science plan for support of restoration and recovery; US Geological Survey Circular 1390. http://pubs.usgs.gov/circ/1390/. Accessed 19 December 2013.
  4. Center for Disease Control (2014). http://www.cdc.gov/nceh/lead/ACCLPP/blood_lead_levels.htm. Accessed 14 August 2015.
  5. Chou, J., Elbers, D., Clement, G., Bursavich, B., Tian, T., Zhang, W., & Yang, K. (2010). In situ monitoring (field screening) and assessment of lead and arsenic contaminants in the greater New Orleans area using a portable X-ray fluorescence analyzer. Journal of Environmental Monitoring, 12, 1722–1729.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Cobb, G. P., Abel, M. T., Rainwater, T. R., Austin, G. P., Cox, S. B., Kendall, R. J., et al. (2006). Metal distribution in New Orleans following Hurricanes Katrina and Rita: A continuation study. Environmental Science and Technology, 40, 4571–4577.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Crall, A. W., Newman, G. J., Stohlgran, T. J., Holfelder, K. A., Graham, J., & Waller, D. M. (2011). Assessing citizen science data quality: An invasive species case study. Conservation Letters, 4, 433–442.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Dudka, S., & Miller, W. P. (1999). Permissible concentrations of arsenic and lead in soils based on risk assessment. Water, Air, and Soil Pollution, 113, 127–132.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Euripidou, E., & Murray, V. (2004). Public health impacts of floods and chemical contamination. Journal of Public Health, 26, 376–383.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Kenna, T. C., Nitsche, F. O., Herron, M. M., Mailloux, B. J., Peteet, D., Sritrairat, S., et al. (2011). Evaluation and calibration of a field portable X-ray Fluorescence spectrometer for quantitative analysis of siliciclastic soils and sediments. Journal of Analytical Atomic Spectrometry, 26, 395–405.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Lanphear, B. P., Matte, T. D., Rogers, J., Clickner, R. P., Dietz, B., Bornschein, R. L., & Jacobs, D. E. (1998). The contribution of lead-contaminated house dust and residential soil to children’s blood lead levels: A pooled analysis of 12 epidemiologic studies. Environmental Research, 79, 51–68.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. National Cooperative Soil Characterization Database. http://ncsslabdatamart.sc.egov.usda.gov. Accessed 19 December 2013.
  13. National Weather Service Weather Forecast Office. http://www.srh.noaa.gov/mfl/?n=sandy. Accessed 16 January 2014.
  14. NYSDEC (2006). New York state Brownfield cleanup program development of soil cleanup objectives. http://www.dec.ny.gov/docs/remediation_hudson_pdf/techsuppdoc.pdf.
  15. Polletta, M. (2013). La plaza cultural community garden, New York, NY. Personal communication.Google Scholar
  16. Presley, S. M., Rainwater, T. R., Austin, G. P., Platt, S. G., Zak, J. C., Cobb, G. P., et al. (2006). Assessment of pathogens and toxicants in New Orleans, LA following Hurricane Katrina. Environmental Science and Technology, 40, 468–474.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Rabito, F. A., Iqbal, S., Perry, S., Arroyave, W., & Rice, J. C. (2012). Environmental lead after Hurricane Katrina: Implications for future populations. Environmental Health Perspectives, 120, 180–184.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. SedNet. (2004). Contaminated sediments in European river basins. http://www.sednet.org/download/Sednet_booklet_final.pdf. Accessed 5 August 5 2014.
  19. Shaw, R.K. (2013). National resources conservation service, Somerset, NJ. Personal communication.Google Scholar
  20. Silvertown, J. (2009). A new dawn for citizen science. Trends in Ecology & Evolution, 24, 467–477.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Su, T., Shi, S., Shi, H., Wang, J., Adams, C., & Witt, E. C. (2008). Distribution of toxic trace elements in soil/sediment in post-Katrina New Orleans and the Louisiana Delta. Environmental Pollution, 156, 944–950.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Teaf, C.M., Covert, D.J., Teaf, P. A., Paige, E. & Starks, M. J. (2010). Arsenic cleanup criteria for soils in the US and abroad: Comparing guidelines and understanding inconsistencies. In Proceedings of Annual International Conference on Soils, Sediments, Water and Energy, 15 (pp. 94–102).Google Scholar
  23. USGS (2013). USGS continues response to Hurricane Sandy. http://www.usgs.gov/sandy/. Accessed 19 December 2013.
  24. US EPA (2001). 40 CFR Part 745. Lead; identification of dangerous levels of lead; final rule. http://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/pkg/FR-2001-01-05/pdf/01-84.pdf.
  25. US EPA (2007a). Method 3548 microwave extraction. http://www.epa.gov/osw/hazard/testmethods/sw846/pdfs/3546.pdf.
  26. US EPA (2007b). Method 8270D semivolatile organic compounds by gas chromatography/mass spectrometry (GC/MS). http://www.epa.gov/osw/hazard/testmethods/sw846/pdfs/8270d.pdf.
  27. US EPA (2012a). NPL Site narrative for Newtown Creek. http://www.epa.gov/superfund/sites/npl/nar1813.htm. Accessed 18 November 2013.
  28. US EPA (2012b). NPL site narrative for Gowanus Canal. http://www.epa.gov/superfund/sites/npl/nar1791.htm. Accessed 18 November 2013.
  29. US EPA (2012c). Hurricane Sandy sampling results: Newtown Creek. www.epa.gov/region2/superfund/npl/newtowncreek/sandysampling.pdf. Accessed 23 November 2013.
  30. US EPA (2012d). Hurricane Sandy sampling results. www.epa.gov/region2/superfund/npl/gowanus/sandysampling.pdf. Accessed 23 November 2013).
  31. US EPA (2013). Region 3 recommended screening levels. http://www.epa.gov/reg3hwmd/risk/human/rb-concentration_table/Generic_Tables/. Accessed 19 December 2013.

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  • Amy C. Mandigo
    • 1
  • Dana J. DiScenza
    • 1
  • Alison R. Keimowitz
    • 2
  • Neil Fitzgerald
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Chemistry Biochemistry and PhysicsMarist CollegePoughkeepsieUSA
  2. 2.Chemistry DepartmentVassar CollegePoughkeepsieUSA

Personalised recommendations