Concentrations of polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) in water, sediment, and aquatic biota in the Houston Ship Channel, Texas


Jan. 2008


Howell, NL
Suarez, MP
Rifai, HS
Koenig, L

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Polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) were quantified in water, sediment, and catfish and crab tissue collected from the Houston Ship Channel (HSC) in Texas. The total concentrations of the 209 PCB congeners ranged from 0.49 to 12.49ng l super(-) super(1), 4.18 to 4601ng g super(-) super(1)dry wt, 4.13 to 1596ng g super(-) super(1) wet wt, and 3.44 to 169ng g super(-) super(1) wet wt, in water, sediment, catfish and crab tissue, respectively. All media showed maximum concentrations greater than studies in other regions with the highest concentrations occurring in the most industrialized segments of the channel. Inter-media correlations suggested that sediment is a source to water. Galveston Bay sediment concentrations compared to a previous study showed a declining trend though the rate of the decline may be slowing. Detailed homolog profiles revealed that the industrialized part of the channel may be receiving PCB-laden sediment from its tributaries. An unusually high fraction of the deca-chlorinated congener (PCB-209) was found in all media. Seen in only a few other studies and in previous air concentrations in the channel, this may point to unusual Aroclor mixtures used in the history of the HSC or to contemporary sources from local industry. A comparison of PCB concentrations obtained using Aroclor, representative congener, and all congener methods, indicated that Aroclors are not an appropriate surrogate for total PCBs and that the NOAA NST method is more representative than the NOAA EPA method.


pgs. 593-606


aquatic animals, aroclor, bioaccumulation, catfish, channels, crustacea, EPA, freshwater fish, history, PCB, polychlorinated biphenyls, sediment, sediment pollution, ships, tributaries