Pollution of surface soils in Escambia and Santa Rosa Counties

Assessment of Environmental Pollution and Community Health in Northwest Florida EPA Cooperative Agreement X-97455002. July 1, 2002 to June 30, 2009 Project Director: Dr. K. Ranga Rao

Task Leader: Dr. Johan Liebens

In many urban areas surface soils have been shown to be polluted. The most common pollutants are heavy metals, but PAHs, PCBs, and other pollutants have also been found in surface soils. The influence of this pollution on human health, especially that of children, is strong and well documented. Urban land use is rapidly increasing in Escambia and Santa Rosa Counties, but a survey of the pollution of surface soils has never been carried out. To remedy this gap in environmental knowledge the current study will assess the level and spatial extent of pollution of surface soils in the two-county area. Results will be evaluated with regards to regulatory limits and potential sources.

The study will determine the concentrations, leachability, and spatial distribution of heavy metals. It will identify potential source areas for the heavy metals by using geospatial and statistical techniques. If elevated levels of heavy metals are observed, environmental justice issues will be examined. The study will also examine the concentrations and spatial distribution of PAHs and dioxins in surface soils in the Palafox industrial corridor in Pensacola where local releases of these pollutants have occurred. CCA-treated wood is being phased out for use in play equipment but because CCA-treated structures are still present in public places, and because of the well documented adverse health effects of CCA, the study will test soils in the vicinity of CCA treated structures in public places.

Final Report: Pollution of surface soils in Escambia and Santa Rosa Counties, FL (PDF)