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Factors Influencing the Soil–Air Partitioning and the Strength of Soils as a Secondary Source of Polychlorinated Biphenyls to the Atmosphere

Cabrerizo, Ana and Dachs, Jordi and Moeckel, Claudia and Ojeda, MariÌa-JoseÌ and Caballero, Gemma and Barceló, Damià and Jones, Kevin C. (2011) Factors Influencing the Soil–Air Partitioning and the Strength of Soils as a Secondary Source of Polychlorinated Biphenyls to the Atmosphere. Environmental Science and Technology, 45 (11). pp. 4785-4792. ISSN 1520-5851

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Abstract

Soils are a major reservoir of persistent organic pollutants, and soil–air partitioning and exchange are key processes controlling the atmospheric concentrations and regional fate of pollutants. Here, we report and discuss the concentrations of polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) in soils, their measured fugacities in soil, the soil–air partition coefficients (KSA) and soil–air fugacity gradients in rural background areas of N-NE Spain and N-NW England. Four sampling campaigns were carried out to assess seasonal and daily variability and differences between sampling sites. KSA values were significantly dependent on soil temperature and soil organic matter quantity, and to a minor extent organic matter type. All the PCB congeners in the soil are close to equilibrium with the atmosphere at rural Ebro sites, but soil fugacities tend to be higher than ambient air fugacities in early and late summer, consistent with the influence of temperature on soil–air partitioning. Therefore, during warm periods, soils increment their strength as secondary sources to the atmosphere. The mixture of PCBs found in the atmosphere is clearly strongly influenced by the mixture of PCBs which escape from soil, with significant correlations between them (R2 ranging between 0.35 and 0.74 and p-level <0.001 for the Ebro sampling sites). Conversely, the close-to-equilibrium to net sink status of rural UK sites, suggest a close coupling of air and soil concentrations, but it is not possible to elucidate the importance of these soils as secondary sources yet, and presumably there are still significant primary sources to the regional/global environment.

Item Type: Article
Journal or Publication Title: Environmental Science and Technology
Subjects: UNSPECIFIED
Departments: Faculty of Science and Technology > Lancaster Environment Centre
ID Code: 53531
Deposited By: ep_importer_pure
Deposited On: 13 Apr 2012 15:09
Refereed?: Yes
Published?: Published
Last Modified: 09 Apr 2014 23:18
Identification Number:
URI: http://eprints.lancs.ac.uk/id/eprint/53531

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