Date of Award

5-2013

Document Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)

Legacy Department

Environmental Engineering and Science

Advisor

Dr. Cindy M. Lee

Committee Member

Dr. John T. Coates

Committee Member

Dr. Thomas J. Overcamp

Abstract

Polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) are a class of persistent organic pollutants that are generally considered semi-volatile. Volatilization and transport of PCBs from contaminated water bodies can result in PCB accumulation on terrestrial plant surfaces, acting as an entry point for contaminants into terrestrial food webs. Evergreen plants can serve as biomonitors of this PCB accumulation, as they often retain foliage for several years, allowing for greater concentrations to accumulate and subsequently be measured. Rhododendron maximum plants often grow in the riparian zone adjacent to water bodies in the Appalachian region, such as near Town Creek, Pickens, South Carolina. This research aimed to determine if PCBs in rhododendron leaves adjacent to PCB-contaminated Town Creek were due to gas phase deposition, primarily as a result of volatilization from the creek.

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