PCBs (polychlorinated biphenols)

Chemical symbol/abbreviations:

PCBs

Solubility in water:

PCBs are non-polar and are insoluble in water. PCBs are transferred into aquatic environments on the surfaces of particulates typically.[i]

Related constituents:

Dioxin – similar to PCBs chemically, but not intentionally manufactured like PCBs. Dioxin is typically the result of waste incineration, pulp and paper bleaching, and the production of chlorinated aromatics such as pesticides.[ii]
A common dioxin is 2,3,7,8-tetrachlorodibenzodioxin (TCDD).[iii]

Adverse human impacts:

In humans, PCBs can cause skin changes, thymus gland problems, immune deficiencies, reproductive and nervous system difficulties and increase the risk of cancer.[iv]

Adverse impacts on the environment:

PCBs have been shown to cause cancer in animals, in addition to serious effects on the immune system, reproductive system, nervous system, endocrine system and other health effects.[v]
The most carcinogenic components of PCB mixtures tend to bioaccumulate in fish and other animals and bind to sediments.[vi]

Stormwater Treatment to Remove PCBs

Background:

PCBs describe a broad range of man-made chemicals used for hundreds of industrial and commercial products. Due to its extreme toxicity to humans, it has been banned in the U.S. for production since 1979. It was primarily used in electrical, heat transfer, and hydraulic equipment and had varying appearances from thin, light colored liquids to black waxy solids.[viii]
PCBs are released into the environment by the improper handling and disposal of wastes containing PCBs. Because PCBs are highly insoluble in water, they are typically associated with solid particulate matter. Contaminated soils and debris can then be transferred into aquatic and terrestrial environments through surface water flows.[ix]

Bioaccumulation also plays a transport mechanism within the food-chain.

Materials suspect of containing PCBs should be disposed of at hazardous waste facilities. Transformers, capacitors, voltage regulators, oil-filled motors and hydraulic systems, cable insulation, and fluorescent light ballasts are common items containing PCBs[x]

U.S. EPA recommended water quality criteria: (Total PCBs) [vii]

Freshwater – Aquatic Organisms (Total Recoverable; pH 6.5-9.0)Saltwater– Aquatic OrganismsHuman Health for the consumption of
Acute (µg/L)Chronic (µg/L)Acute (µg/L)Chronic (µg/L)Water + Organism (µg/L)Organism Only (µg/L)
na0.014na0.030.0000640.000064

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Appendices

[i] N. K. Nagpal, British Columbia Ministry of the Env’t, Water quality criteria for polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs): forms and transformations in the environment (1992) available at http://www.env.gov.bc.ca/wat/wq/BCguidelines/pcbs/pcbs-02.htm..

[ii] U.S. EPA, Dioxins and Furans, http://www.epa.gov/pbt/pubs/dioxins.htm (last visited Aug. 5, 2010).

[iii] U.S. EPA, Dioxins and Furans, http://www.epa.gov/pbt/pubs/dioxins.htm (last visited Aug. 5, 2010).

[iv] U.S. EPA, List of Contaminants and Their MCLs, http://www.epa.gov/safewater/contaminants/index.html.

[v] U.S. EPA, Health Effects of PCBs http://www.epa.gov/epawaste/hazard/tsd/pcbs/pubs/effects.htm (last visited Aug. 5, 2010).

[vi] U.S. EPA, Health Effects of PCBs http://www.epa.gov/epawaste/hazard/tsd/pcbs/pubs/effects.htm (last visited Aug. 5, 2010).

[vii] U.S. EPA, National Recommended Water Quality Criteria, http://www.epa.gov/waterscience/criteria/wqctable/index.html#U (last visited July 7, 2010).

[viii] U.S. EPA, Basic Information – Polychlorinated biphenols (PCBs) http://www.epa.gov/epawaste/hazard/tsd/pcbs/pubs/about.htm (last visited Aug. 5, 2010).

[ix] N. K. Nagpal, British Columbia Ministry of the Env’t, Water quality criteria for polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs): forms and transformations in the environment (1992) available at http://www.env.gov.bc.ca/wat/wq/BCguidelines/pcbs/pcbs-02.htm.

[x] U.S. EPA, Basic Information – Polychlorinated biphenols (PCBs) http://www.epa.gov/epawaste/hazard/tsd/pcbs/pubs/about.htm (last visited Aug. 5, 2010).

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The StormwateRx Aquip® industrial filtration system uses an innovative enhanced sand filtration process to effectively remove soluble and insoluble aluminum and other metals as well as oils, suspended solids, organics and nutrients from industrial stormwater runoff.

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The Purus™ Stormwater Polishing System (previously known as the AquiPlus) provides the most advanced level of stormwater treatment, and is designed for challenging stormwater conditions or targeted pollutant removal.

2017-03-10T22:17:45+00:00
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