Investigating the Links between Atmospheric Pollutants, Meteorology and Water Pollution | AIChE

Investigating the Links between Atmospheric Pollutants, Meteorology and Water Pollution


Rice, D. J. - Presenter, Bucknell University
Raymond, T. M. - Presenter, Bucknell University

In recent decades, there has been a growing concern about the amount of pollutants in the atmosphere and the dangers associated with them. It is important to know how pollutants form, where they are transported, and where they are deposited. The purpose of the research project was to determine what effects meteorological conditions can have on certain pollutants in terms of their transport and deposition in the Susquehanna River basin around Lewisburg. The Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection has monitoring sites throughout the state where they can detect certain Volatile Organic Compounds (VOC's) as well as certain heavy metals. Some of these sites also have equipment set up to record certain meteorological conditions, including precipitation, solar radiation, and relative humidity. If a particular site did not have meteorological data available, the data for that site was available from the National Climatic Data Center. There were five sites where we obtained both pollutant and meteorological data: Bucknell, Chester, Erie, Lancaster and Pottstown. For these sites, there were several VOC's and heavy metals that had consistent concentrations above the detection limit. The pollutant and weather data can be compared to see if there are any trends. If the pollutants are absorbed into clouds as they form or into rain drops as they fall, a negative correlation might be expected. This was the case for certain pollutants. Rain samples and river samples from the West Branch of the Susquehanna River were collected and tested to find concentrations of these pollutants.