North-Central Section - 42nd Annual Meeting (24–25 April 2008)

Paper No. 11
Presentation Time: 1:00 PM-5:00 PM


GIAMBELUCA, Kathleen A., Geology, Augustana College, 639 38th St, Rock Island, IL 61201,

Industrial and consumer waste can supply streams, lakes, rivers, and groundwater with heavy metals. The weathering of soils from acid rain can also cause heavy metals to be released, and high levels can have a severe effect on aquatic life, ecosystems, the food chain, and human health. Heavy metals pose major environmental and health problems. Landfill leachates can be the source of many contaminants to groundwater. Soils in these areas are commonly polluted with heavy metals, which may potentially leach into shallow groundwater. The objective of this study was to assess the prevalence of heavy metal concentration in surface water in the area adjacent to a landfill and to offer a baseline set of data for the area of concern in Atkinson, IL. Eleven sites within the Giant Goose Conservation Education Workshop were sampled from June-September, 2007. Sixty-mL plastic containers were used to store approximately 25-30mL of water at each site along the perimeter of the area of concern. Data, including dissolved oxygen content, pH, conductivity, and temperature, were measured using a multimeter, and samples were sent to Notre Dame University ICP-MS facility for heavy metal content analysis. It was determined that all tested heavy metal content was below national or state legal standards. Mercury at all sites was below the detection limit of 0.007 ppb (ng/g). Sites 7 and 8b had the highest conductivity level (2.11 ms/cm and 2.44 ms/cm) most likely due to an iron level of 91.8 ± 8.51 ppb (ng/g) and a zinc level of 19.1± 0.08 ppb. Arsenic levels of 4.56 ± 0.26 ppb and 4.62 ± 0.24 ppb were found adjacent to an agricultural field due to the possible use of herbicides and pesticides as well as near a road. Other possible sources include natural quantities of arsenic or dissolved arsenic in groundwater from likely occurring mineral deposits. This site is a reclaimed coal strip mine. Cadmium levels of approximately 0.370 ± 0.004 ppb were found in areas most likely to be used by motor vehicles. These levels may also be due to coal-or oil-burning power plants whose chemicals can be deposited through rain or wind. Site 7 contained the highest amount of iron and held a large amount of algae. This may be due to ferro-manganese bacteria, which holds a near neutral pH and accumulates iron oxides (Sheldon and Wellnitz, 1998). Test site 9, closest to the adjacent landfill, showed no sign of increased levels of any tested heavy metal.