From 1947 to 1971 the world's largest manufacturer of DDT discharged process wastes into the sewers of Los Angeles County. Roughly 870-1450 t of DDT were released to the ocean off Palos Verdes, CA, a portion of which (???100 t) resides in sediments on the continental shelf and slope. The most abundant DDT compound in the sediments, p,p???-DDE, is degrading by reductive dechlorination, butthe rate of transformation and factors controlling it are not well understood. In order to estimate in situ transformation rates and predict the long-term fate of p,p???-DDE, box cores were collected in 1992 and 2003 from a single location on the Palos Verdes Shelf and analyzed for 8 DDT compounds and 84 polychlorinated biphenyl (PCB) congeners. The PCBs show no evidence of dechlorination, and inventories did not change between 1992 and 2003. By contrast, the inventory of p,p???-DDE decreased by 43%, whereas that of p,p???-DDMU, the putative reductive dechlorination product increased by 34%. The first-order transformation rate for p,p???-DDE at the study site is 0.051 ?? 0.006 yr-1. A multistep reaction model suggests that inventories of p,p???-DDE and p,p???-DDMU will continue to decline, whereas that of p,p???-DDNU will reach a maximum around 2014.
Additional publication details
DDE in sediments of the Palos Verdes shelf, California: In situ transformation rates and geochemical fate