Ecotoxicity Risks Associated with the Land Treatment of Petrochemical Wastes

EPA Grant Number: R826242
Title: Ecotoxicity Risks Associated with the Land Treatment of Petrochemical Wastes
Investigators: Lochmiller, Robert L. , Qualls, Charles W.
Current Investigators: Janz, David M.
Institution: Oklahoma State University
EPA Project Officer: Hahn, Intaek
Project Period: October 1, 1997 through September 30, 2000
Project Amount: $406,229
RFA: Exploratory Research - Environmental Biology (1997) RFA Text |  Recipients Lists
Research Category: Biology/Life Sciences , Ecosystems


Although many consider Land Treatment of Petrochemical Industrial wastes to be a viable and safe management practice, recent field studies by our laboratory raises serious environmental concerns regarding immunotoxicity and fluorosis risks to wild vertebrates. We propose to examine these concerns by monitoring immunologic and pathologic responses of cotton rats (Sigmodon hispidus) in situ by seasonally collecting resident animals from replicated Land Treatment and Reference Sites throughout Oklahoma. Biomarker responses (immune system function, biotransformation enzyme activities, pathology) will be compared to soil and tissue contaminant levels to identify probable causative agents. We hypothesize that fluoride, lead, arsenic, and other contaminants are universally high in Land-Treatment soils and that these contaminants behave in a dose-response fashion to cause a high incidence of dental fluorosis and immune system dysfunction in resident small mammal populations.


Our experimental approach will be to seasonally (winter, summer) monitor demographic changes and physiological integrity of resident rodents from 5 Land Treatment sites and 5 ecologically-matched reference sites across 2 years to assess ecotoxicity risks from immunotoxicants and fluoride in soil; a randomized block design. Populations will be surveyed to determine if survival rate, recruitment, age/sex structure, and density are adversely impacted by Land Treatment of petroleum wastes. Seasonally, adult rodents will be returned to the laboratory to assess immune system function, pathology, biotransformation enzyme activity, and tissue contaminant levels.

Expected Results:

Our studies will provide the first examination of ecotoxicity risks associated with the Land Treatment of petrochemical waste products that are generated by the oil refining industry. We anticipate that our research will identify potential problems with chronic exposure to immunotoxicants and fluoride in the soil of these sites.

Publications and Presentations:

Publications have been submitted on this project: View all 12 publications for this project

Journal Articles:

Journal Articles have been submitted on this project: View all 10 journal articles for this project

Supplemental Keywords:

land farm, petrochemical pollution, wildlife toxicology, ecotoxicity, oil refinery pollution, immunotoxicity, soil contaminants, terrestrial ecosystem., RFA, Scientific Discipline, Toxics, Waste, Ecosystem Protection/Environmental Exposure & Risk, National Recommended Water Quality, Ecosystem/Assessment/Indicators, Ecosystem Protection, exploratory research environmental biology, Chemical Mixtures - Environmental Exposure & Risk, Environmental Chemistry, Ecological Effects - Environmental Exposure & Risk, chemical mixtures, Ecological Effects - Human Health, Biochemistry, Environmental Monitoring, Hazardous Waste, Ecology and Ecosystems, Ecological Risk Assessment, Hazardous, Ecological Indicators, ecological exposure, adverse impacts, biomarkers, wildlife, dose-response, immunotoxicity, petrochemical wastes, lead, petrochemical waste, biomonitoring, ecological assessment, oil refinery pollution, oil spills, assessment methods, biotransformation, ecotoxicological studies, water quality, arsenic

Progress and Final Reports:

  • 1998
  • 1999 Progress Report
  • Final Report