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Chlorinated ethenes from groundwater in tree trunks

Environmental Science and Technology

By:
, ,
DOI: 10.1021/es980848b

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Abstract

The purpose of this investigation was to determine whether tree-core analysis could be used to delineate shallow groundwater contamination by chlorinated ethenes. Analysis of tree- Cores from bald cypress [Taxodium distichum (L.) Rich], tupelo (Nyssa aquatica L.), sweet gum (Liquidambar stryaciflua L.), oak (Quercus spp.), sycamore (Platanus occidentalis L.), and Ioblolly pine (Pinus taeda L.) growing over shallow groundwater contaminated with cis-1,2-dichloroethene (cDCE) and trichloroethene (TCE) showed that those compounds also were present in the trees. The cores were collected and analyzed by headspace gas chromatography. Bald cypress, tupelo, and loblolly pine contained the highest concentrations of TCE, with lesser amounts in nearby oak and sweet gum. The concentrations of cDCE and TCE in various trees appeared to reflect the configuration of the chlorinated-solvent groundwater contamination plume. Bald cypress cores collected along 18.6-m vertical transects of the same trunks showed that TCE concentrations decline by 30- 70% with trunk height. The ability of the tested trees to take up cDCE and TCE make tree coring a potentially cost-effective and simple approach to optimizing well placement at this site.The purpose of this investigation was to determine whether tree-core analysis could be used to delineate shallow groundwater contamination by chlorinated ethenes. Analysis of tree cores from bald cypress [Taxodium distichum (L.) Rich], tupelo (Nyssa aquatica L.), sweet gum (Liquidambar stryaciflua L.), oak (Quercus spp.), sycamore (Platanus occidentalis L.), and loblolly pine (Pinus taeda L.) growing over shallow groundwater contaminated with cis-1,2-dichloroethene (cDCE) and trichloroethene (TCE) showed that those compounds also were present in the trees. The cores were collected and analyzed by headspace gas chromatography. Bald cypress, tupelo, and loblolly pine contained the highest concentrations of TCE, with lesser amounts in nearby oak and sweet gum. The concentrations of cDCE and TCE in various trees appeared to reflect the configuration of the chlorinated-solvent groundwater contamination plume. Bald cypress cores collected along 18.6-m vertical transects of the same trunks showed that TCE concentrations decline by 30-70% with trunk height. The ability of the tested trees to take up cDCE and TCE make tree coring a potentially cost-effective and simple approach to optimizing well placement at this site.

Additional Publication Details

Publication type:
Article
Publication Subtype:
Journal Article
Title:
Chlorinated ethenes from groundwater in tree trunks
Series title:
Environmental Science and Technology
DOI:
10.1021/es980848b
Volume
33
Issue:
3
Year Published:
1999
Language:
English
Publisher:
ACS
Publisher location:
Washington, DC, United States
Larger Work Type:
Article
Larger Work Subtype:
Journal Article
First page:
510
Last page:
515
Number of Pages:
6