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Wright State scientist receives grant to help clean up polluted American harbors

Most of the harbors in America are in trouble. The culprit is pollution. These seaports have been described as the largest and most poorly regulated sources of urban pollution in the country.

One of the primary obstacles to correcting this problem is a lack of accurate and cost- effective ways to measure the pollution that is present to determine if clean-up is needed.

The clean-up costs for these harbors and large rivers can be staggering, costing tens to hundreds of millions of dollars per site, said Allen Burton, Ph.D., a professor of environmental sciences at Wright State University in Dayton, Ohio. Given these costs, we have to find better ways to determine what does and does not need to be cleaned up.

Burton, an expert on the pollution of aquatic systems, has received an innovative $900,000 grant to help develop a solution for this environmental dilemma. He said virtually every harbor in America has pollution problems. For an example nearby, there are 42 federally designated areas of concern along the Great Lakes, and 41 of these involve harbors in such locations as Chicago, Toledo and Cleveland, he explained. Numerous rivers and streams with contaminants from agriculture, industry and development drain into these harbors. These toxic wastes become a pollution source, along with emissions from ships and other sources from the maritime trade.

Our goal is to develop a quick, risk assessment monitoring tool for harbors where contaminated sediments are a common problem, said Burton, who chairs the universitys Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences. His research over the last 25 years has focused on developing effective methods for identifying ecological effects and contamination in aquatic systems.

The unique aspect of our grant is that this project will provide the first-ever instrumentation that closely links contaminant exposures (like mercury, arsenic, pesticides, PCBs) with adverse effects on f
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Contact: Richard Doty
richard.doty@wright.edu
937-775-3232
Wright State University
20-Jun-2007


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