Contamination of groundwater by the fumigants ethylene dibromide (EDB) and dibromochloropropane (DBCP) near McBee, South Carolina

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Abstract

McBee is a small town of about 700 people located in Chesterfield County, South Carolina, in the Sandhills region of the upper Coastal Plain. The halogenated organic compounds ethylene dibromide (EDB) and dibromochloropropane (DBCP) have been detected in several public and domestic supply and irrigation wells since 2002 at concentrations above their U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Maximum Contaminant Limits of 0.05 and 0.2 microgram per liter (µg/L), respectively. The source(s) and release histories of EDB and DBCP to local groundwater are unknown, but believed to be related to their historical use between the 1940s and their ban in the late 1970s as fumigants to control nematode damage in peach orchards. However, gasoline and jet-fuel supplies also contained EDB and are an alternative source of contamination to groundwater. The detection of EDB and DBCP in water wells has raised health concerns because groundwater is the sole source of water supply in the McBee area. In April 2010, forensic, geochemical-based investigation was initiated by the U.S. Geological Survey in cooperation with the Alligator Rural Water & Sewer Company to provide additional data regarding EDB and DBCP in local groundwater. The investigation includes an assessment of the use, release, and disposal history of EDB and DBCP in the area, the distribution of EDB and DBCP concentrations in the unsaturated zone, and transport and fate in groundwater.

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Additional publication details

Publication type Conference Paper
Publication Subtype Conference Paper
Title Contamination of groundwater by the fumigants ethylene dibromide (EDB) and dibromochloropropane (DBCP) near McBee, South Carolina
Year Published 2010
Language English
Publisher Clemson University Center for Watershed Excellence
Publisher location Columbia, South Carolina
Contributing office(s) South Atlantic Water Science Center
Description 4 p.
Larger Work Type Conference Paper
Larger Work Title Proceedings of the 2010 South Carolina Water Resources Conference
Conference Title 2010 South Carolina Water Resources Conference
Conference Location Columbia, South Carolina
Conference Date October 13-14 2010
Country United States
State South Carolina
Online Only (Y/N) N
Additional Online Files (Y/N) N