Field samples were collected around six pentachlorophenol (PCP)-treated wooden poles (in clay, organic soil, and sand) to evaluate the vertical migration of polychlorodibenzo-p-dioxins and furans (PCDD/Fs). Soils were characterized, PCDD/Fs, C10-C50, and PCP were analyzed for seven composite samples located at a depth from 0 to 100 cm and at a distance from 0 to 50 cm from each pole. Concentrations of PCDD/Fs measured in organic soils were the highest (maximum 1.2E + 05 pg toxic equivalent TEQ/g soil), followed by clay (maximum 3.8E + 04 pg TEQ/g soil) and sand (maximum 1.8E + 04 pg TEQ/g soil). Model predictions, including the influence of wood treatment oil, were validated using measured concentration values in soils around poles. The model predicts a migration of PCDD/Fs due to the migration of oil, which differs depending on the type of soil: in clay, 90% of PCDD/Fs are predicted to remain in the first 29 cm, whereas in sand, 80 to 90% of the emitted PCDD/Fs are predicted to migrate deeper than 185 cm. For the organic soil, the predicted migration depth varies from 90 to 155 cm. This screening model allows evaluating the danger of microcontaminated sites around PCP-treated wooden poles: from a risk assessment perspective, in the case of organic soil and clay, no PCDD/F contamination is to be expected below the pole, but high levels of PCDD/Fs can be found in the first 2 m below the surface. For sand, however, significantly lower levels of PCDD/Fs were predicted in the surface soil, while the migration depth remains elevated, posing an inherent danger of aquifer contamination under the pole. Environ. Toxicol. Chem. 2010;29:582–590. © 2009 SETAC
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