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International Journal of Environment Science and Technology
Center for Environment and Energy Research and Studies (CEERS)
ISSN: 1735-1472
EISSN: 1735-2630
Vol. 6, No. 4, 2009, pp. 527-538
Bioline Code: st09058
Full paper language: English
Document type: Research Article
Document available free of charge

International Journal of Environment Science and Technology, Vol. 6, No. 4, 2009, pp. 527-538

 en Relationship between geomorphology and contamination with weathered hydrocarbons in an old river levee/marsh association
Adams, R. H.; Olán-Castro, D.; Guzmán-Osorio, F. J. & Díaz-Ramírez, I. J.


A site evaluation was made for a low-lying property in an old river levee/marsh association, used marginally for cattle raising, which was contaminated due to historical practices. Contamination was related to geomorphology: the lowest areas contained 79 % of the contaminated samples. Other contaminated samples were all rear access roads (probable intentional dumping). There were no samples in the higher, levee areas away from roads with hydrocarbon concentrations above 3,000 mg/kg. Medium and high impact levels, corresponding to average hydrocarbon concentrations of 13,400 mg/kg and 109,700 mg/kg, respectively, were found in 28 % and 27 % of the property area. The medium impact level was predicted to have a reduced pasture production potential of ~ 50 % while at the high impact level practically no pasture production was predicted. Toxicological risk to cattle is present in only 12 % of the sample points although almost all of these are in very marshy areas not apt for cattle raising. Because the hydrocarbons at this tropical site are very weathered, acute toxicity was not related to hydrocarbon concentration. Although slightly more than half of the property has hydrocarbon concentrations above the permissible limit, only about one-third of the contaminated area is apt for cattle raising. This study, based on hydrocarbon distribution related to site geomorphology, soil toxicity bioassay, risk assessment to cattle and evaluation of pasture production allowed to made a more accurate assessment and definition of future use of the site. These criteria could be used for diagnostic studies of sites with similar tropical conditions.

Crude oil; Livestock toxicity; Pasture production; Risk assessment

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