Chemical and bioassay monitoring of PCB-contaminated soil remediation using solvent extraction technology

Takigami, H.; Etoh, T.; Nishio,T.; Sakai, S. (2008) Journal of Environmental Monitoring, 10(2): 198-205

Illegal dumping of polychlorinated biphenyl (PCB) capacitors was discovered in Kobe, Japan, in 2001, leaving about 68 m3 (92 tons) of soil contaminated with approximately 6.6 kg of PCBs. Solvent extraction technology carried out in 2002-2003 using isopropyl alcohol remedied the affected soil at the site. Forty-seven batch treatments were conducted during full-scale treatment. On average, 8.4 extraction cycles per batch were needed to achieve the clean-up goal for PCBs (i.e., the Japanese environmental quality standard for soil). Analytical results showed that the average PCB concentration (88 µg g-1-dry soil) in untreated soil samples of all the batches was decreased to 1.2 µg g-1-dry soil in treated soil samples, yielding a removal efficiency of 98.6%. Dioxin responsive-chemical activated luciferase gene expression assay (DR-CALUX) and enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) adopting a monoclonal antibody against 2,3,4,4,5-pentachlorobiphenyl (PCB #118) were used to rapidly screen soil samples before and after solvent extraction. The DR-CALUX and ELISA results were in good agreement with World Health Organization toxicity equivalent values and analytically determined PCB concentrations, respectively. Regular monitoring during the treatment period confirmed that the applied technology met Japanese environmental and control regulations concerning treatment and disposal of contaminated soils and treatment residues. After full-scale treatment, the amount of PCBs recovered from the solvent purification system approximated the estimated amount of PCBs spilled.