2003 CPEO Military List Archive

From: CPEO Moderator <cpeo@cpeo.org>
Date: 4 Aug 2003 15:50:36 -0000
Reply: cpeo-military
Subject: [CPEO-MEF] Scientists tracking perchlorate pollution
Scientists tracking perchlorate pollution
By Natalie Patton
August 4, 2003

When perchlorate suddenly became a household word in Southern Nevada,
Desert Research Institute scientist Lambis Papelis was among the Nevada
university system researchers called upon to expose the rocket fuel
ingredient's travel habits and relationship patterns.

Papelis, a water chemist for the past nine years at the statewide
research center, joined UNLV researchers as a co-principal investigator
on a U.S. Environmental Protection Agency-sponsored perchlorate
contamination study completed in March.

Perchlorate, produced for decades in Henderson-area chemical plants,
interferes with thyroid gland functions and human development. Infants,
young children and pregnant women are most susceptible.

"What we were looking at was the potential for migration of perchlorate
in the area around the Las Vegas Wash," Papelis said. "Where did it come
from? Where is it going? How long would it take to get there? Could this
perchlorate be reduced in the soil by micro-organisms? And would it be
retarded by soil at all?"

Papelis, 46, said the answer to the last question is no. Perchlorate
travels with water and doesn't jump out of the flow to stick to soil or
other surfaces.

"Essentially, if you know how the water's moving, you also know how the
contaminant is moving," he said.

The answer to whether micro-organisms could help in the fight to get
perchlorate out of Southern Nevada's drinking water is probably not.
Papelis said desert soils don't have enough food to fuel the work of
microbes that otherwise would be eager to consume perchlorate.

The study included lab research, computer modeling and sampling along
the Las Vegas Wash and in wells tapping into groundwater.

This article can be viewed at:

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