SEGH Articles

SEGH Urban Soils and Metal Contamination Conference, March 2015 University of Texas-Arlington

07 July 2015
The United States Section of the Society for Environmental Geochemistry and Health (SEGH), along with the University of Texas-Arlington (UTA) sponsored a conference on Urban Soils and Metal Contamination: Issues & Remedies, March 30th to April 1, 2015 on the campus of UTA.

This conference provided a forum for discussion among research scientists, government agency personnel, industry representatives, remediation managers, public health practitioners, product manufacturers and decision makers with interest in the problem posed by contaminated urban soils. Conference Themes included: Elevated levels of heavy metals in urban soils, unforeseen hazard events; disaster clean-up, vulnerable populations: measuring risk, cost-effective soil remediation, barriers to clean-up, remediation guidance; decision-making process, determination of best practices and policy and reality.

The focus of this meeting was to provide a forum for attendees and presenters to exchange information on current and best practices in the area of remediating contaminated urban soils. Of the 65 conference participants were 34 speakers from across the United States, the United Kingdom, Australia, Chile, Nigeria and China and representatives from federal, state and local health agencies along with universities and industries.

First day speakers provided background on the nature and extent of urban soil contamination as well as the current risk assessment and remediation of metal contaminated urban soils. Throughout the conference, current studies and soil metal remediation projects in Nigeria, Chile, Australia, New Orleans, Joplin Missouri, Jersey City, NJ, Dallas, Texas, and other sites were discussed. Along with the soil remediation presentations were several presentations on heavy metal uptake by vegetables and fruits in urban gardens. The main impetus for these studies and projects is to reduce the exposure pathway of heavy metals to populations at risk, especial young children, by remediating contaminated urban soil.

 

 

Conference speakers and attendees at dinner in Arlington, Texas.

Keep up to date

Submit Content

Members can keep in touch with their colleagues through short news and events articles of interest to the SEGH community.

Science in the News

Latest on-line papers from the SEGH journal: Environmental Geochemistry and Health

  • Membrane fouling control by Ca 2+ during coagulation–ultrafiltration process for algal-rich water treatment 2019-04-16

    Abstract

    Seasonal algal bloom, a water supply issue worldwide, can be efficiently solved by membrane technology. However, membranes typically suffer from serious fouling, which hinders the wide application of this technology. In this study, the feasibility of adding Ca2+ to control membrane fouling in coagulation–membrane treatment of algal-rich water was investigated. According to the results obtained, the normalized membrane flux decreased by a lower extent upon increasing the concentration of Ca2+ from 0 to 10 mmol/L. Simultaneously, the floc particle size increased significantly with the concentration of Ca2+, which leads to a lower hydraulic resistance. The coagulation performance is also enhanced with the concentration of Ca2+, inducing a slight osmotic pressure-induced resistance. The formation of Ca2+ coagulation flocs resulted in a looser, thin, and permeable cake layer on the membrane surface. This cake layer rejected organic pollutants and could be easily removed by physical and chemical cleaning treatments, as revealed by scanning electron microscopy images. The hydraulic irreversible membrane resistance was significantly reduced upon addition of Ca2+. All these findings suggest that the addition of Ca2+ may provide a simple-operation, cost-effective, and environmentally friendly technology for controlling membrane fouling during coagulation–membrane process for algal-rich water treatment.

  • Evaluation of the raw water quality: physicochemical and toxicological approaches 2019-04-13

    Abstract

    Environmental degradation has increased, mainly as a result of anthropogenic effects arising from population, industrial and agricultural growth. Water pollution is a problem that affects health, safety and welfare of the whole biota which shares the same environment. In Goiânia and metropolitan region, the main water body is the Meia Ponte River that is used for the abstraction of water, disposal of treated wastewater and effluents. In addition, this river receives wastewater from urban and rural areas. The aim in this present study was to evaluate the quality of raw water by some physical, chemical and toxicological tests. The physicochemical results found high levels of turbidity, conductivity, aluminum, phosphorus and metal iron, manganese, copper and lithium when compared to the standards of the Brazilian legislation. The values found of toxicity demonstrated a high degree of cytotoxicity and genotoxicity. Therefore, it was concluded that the Meia Ponte River has been undergoing constant environmental degradation, causing the poor quality of its waters. Thus, measures for the prevention and recovery should be adopted for the maintenance of the Meia Ponte River.

  • Review of the nature of some geophagic materials and their potential health effects on pregnant women: some examples from Africa 2019-04-11

    Abstract

    The voluntary human consumption of soil known as geophagy is a global practice and deep-rooted in many African cultures. The nature of geophagic material varies widely from the types to the composition. Generally, clay and termite mound soils are the main materials consumed by geophagists. Several studies revealed that gestating women across the world consume more soil than other groups for numerous motives. These motivations are related to medicinal, cultural and nutrients supplementation. Although geophagy in pregnancy (GiP) is a universal dynamic habit, the highest prevalence has been reported in African countries such as Kenya, Ghana, Rwanda, Nigeria, Tanzania, and South Africa. Geophagy can be both beneficial and detrimental. Its health effects depend on the amount and composition of the ingested soils, which is subjective to the geology and soil formation processes. In most cases, the negative health effects concomitant with the practice of geophagy eclipse the positive effects. Therefore, knowledge about the nature of geophagic material and the health effects that might arise from their consumption is important.