Role of stable isotopes in environmental forensics

AGRO 178

R. Paul Philp,, Tomasz Kuder, and Jon Allen. School of Geology and Geophysics, University of Oklahoma, 100 E. Boyd, Norman, OK 73019
As soon as organic compounds are spilled into the environment, changes will start to occur to them as a result of weathering process. Changes may result from water washing, evaporation, photo-oxidation, or biodegradation. An understanding of these processes is essential in understanding the origin and fate of these contaminants. In recent years, the use of gas chromatography-isotope ratio mass spectrometry (GCIRMS), has been applied to a number of environmental forensic problems. In this presentation, it is proposed to review how stable carbon and hydrogen isotopes can be used as a tool for correlating contaminants with their suspected sources and, where appropriate, used as a tool to monitor natural attenuation. Applications discussed will describe the fate of common contaminants, such as MTBE, PCE, and BTEX, in groundwater as well as less volatile compounds, such as PAHs and refined products. With the increasing popularity of natural attenuation as a remediation technique, monitoring the enrichment of heavier isotopes in the degraded residues is becoming a viable tool to determine when and if natural attenuation has commenced and the extent of the degradation.

Environmental Forensics
8:50 AM-11:40 AM, Wednesday, August 20, 2008 Crowne Plaza City Center -- Independence A/B, Oral

Division of Agrochemicals

The 236th ACS National Meeting, Philadelphia, PA, August 17-21, 2008