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Dendroecology Tracking Contamination : Characterization and age- dating of environmental releases Chris Balouet, Chris Balouet, Ph.D. Environment International,

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Presentation on theme: "Dendroecology Tracking Contamination : Characterization and age- dating of environmental releases Chris Balouet, Chris Balouet, Ph.D. Environment International,"— Presentation transcript:

1 Dendroecology Tracking Contamination : Characterization and age- dating of environmental releases Chris Balouet, Chris Balouet, Ph.D. Environment International, Environment International, Gil Oudijk and Ioana Petrisor

2 Environmental Forensics Here using trees as proxy-recorders and the pollution related tracers fixed in tree rings at time of exposure to characterize and age-date past environmental releases. Reconstruction of past events based on the evidence that remains…

3 The associated disciplins & scientific backup Dendrochronology Using tree rings to age date past events : e. g. archeology Dendroecology Dendroecology Using tree rings to document past environmental impacts e.g., climate, floods, fires… Phytoremediation Dendrochemistry Understanding and using plants capacity to remove contaminants Understanding chemicals distribution at ring level Microanalysis XRF, GC/MS, isotopes of accepted use in forensics, criminal justice, industry and research

4 Translocation by sap Phyto-volatilization (organics) Fixation Phyto-extraction Contaminant Trees as Proxy-recorders Uptake Annual rings

5 Tree ring series Parameters influencing tree growth : Rt = At + Ct + δD1t + δD2t + Et where Rt is the measured tree-ring series; At is the age-size-related growth trend. Ct is the recorded climate signal; D1t is the disturbance pulse within the forest stand; D2t is the disturbance pulse outside of the forest stand, and Et is the processes not accounted for by these other terms. The “δ” is a binary indicator of the presence or absence of a disturbance pulse. Complacent ring series in Larix decidua (© WSL/Haupt) Versus growth decline in a severely polluted Platanus occidentalis Case #1 Transposes to chemical influencing parameters

6 Chemical series EDXRF Line scanning the core (100 µ beam size, 200 µ increment Generating profiles (13

7 Looking at elemental tracers i. e. Cl for chlorinated solvents, Here were several releases of chlorinated solvents, dated late 1986, 1988, late 93/early 94, late 96/early 97. The increasing profile right of figure, towards cambium, is due to sap circulation as plume still active at stand. Whilst dating past releases with a precision by the year Balouet Jean Christophe: 2005; Dendroecology: a key forensic age dating tool. Environmental forensics, ISSN , 6:3-4, pp Balouet, J. C., Oudijk, G., Smith, K. T., Petrisor, I., Grudd, H., Stocklassa, B., Dendroecology and environmental forensics: From fundamentals to case studies: Environmental Forensics, 8, Taylor & Francis Group, LLC ISSN: 1527–5922, 19 pp

8 Combined elemental markers S and Cl for fossil fuels : here heating oil and cases # 4 & 5 S and Cl for fossil fuels : here heating oil and cases # 4 & 5

9 Multiple elemental tracers To characterize source : here an unknown source with P & S, nearby an industry plant using TCE: Cl enrichment is asynchronous and independent, implying at last two different contaminating compounds and 6 asynchronous release events. Mind the anomalies’ amplitudes (often 2 to 3 times fold). Balouet Jean Christophe, Oudijk Gil, Petrisor Ioana, Morrisson Robert: 2007; Dendroecology, In Emerging Forensics Technologies, Chapter 15, Introduction to Environmental Forensics, Elsevier publisher. Bryan Murphy and Bob Morrison, Eds. pp

10 Investigating special sites (case 6) Former fuel station mitigated two years before… Only a stump was left

11 …. where other forensics methods not applicable… S and Cl + V in former fuel station (previous slide) S and Cl + V in former fuel station (previous slide) Investigating special sites (case 6)

12 Maintenance site with 17 USTs, Site already mitigated Investigating special sites (case 7) Plume discontinued by river Balouet Jean Christophe and Oudijk Gil : 2006; The use of dendroecological methods to estimate the timeframe of environmental releases. Environmental Claims Journal. Taylor & Francis Ed., ISSN Vol. 18 (1/Winter), 10, pp Smith, Kevin T. Balouet, Jean Christophe, Oudijk, Gil : Submitted: Elemental line scanning of cores using EDXRF: from fundamental research to environmental forensics applications. Dendrochronologia …. where other forensics methods not applicable…

13 Investigating special sites (case 7) A long lasting history of releases : 1957 fossil fuel, 1974 leaded gasoline, 1978 fossil fuel Sap enrichment right of point C

14  Presence of trees  Trees’ age  Tree not rotten nor pruned  Distance to source ……. Some limitations… … or needs  Environmental liability dispute …  Good tools & good lab  a little time and some well invested $*  Control tree(s) as justified and reasonable + * Method saves costly rigs, is « cheap » compared to other methods, whilst can be used as an independent line of evidence.

15  whether the scientific theory or technique "can be (and has been) tested"  whether the scientific theory or technique "has been subjected to peer review and publication";  "the known or potential rate of error"  "the existence and maintenance of standards controlling the technique’s operation"  "general acceptance" in the "relevant scientific community Daubert Criteria / Legal admissibility Reminder Reminder : all cases are different even when same sound method repeatedly applied

16 Dendroecology Tracking Contamination : Characterization and age- dating of environmental releases Chris Balouet, Chris Balouet, Ph.D. Environment International, Environment International, Gil Oudijk and Ioana Petrisor


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