DDT contamination of a North Alabama aquatic ecosystem

Academic Article


  • Between 1947 and 1970, Olin Chemical Company discharged an estimated 4.32 × 105 to 8.0 × 106 kg of DDT residues (DDT, DDD and DDE) into Huntsville Spring Branch and Indian Creek in Alabama. Residents of Triana, Alabama, located approximately 10 mi downstream from the outfall, have been found to have high tissue levels of DDT residues. A comprehensive investigation of the contaminated area conducted by Tennessee Valley Authority and others in 1979 indicated extensive contamination of the ecosystem. This study investigated the environmental dynamics of DDT residues in the Huntsville Spring Branch‐Indian Creek aquatic ecosystem by assessing residue levels in sediment, water and benthic macroinvertebrates collected in September 1983 during a 3‐d period. Analytical results revealed continued heavy DDT residue contamination of all three media. Water and sediment data exhibited an exponential decrease in residues with increasing distance below the outfall. Sediments showed concentrations of residues of up to 2% by weight. Benthic macroinvertebrates also displayed high levels of DDT residues. Water bioconcentration factors ranged from 1,737 to 99,700 for total residues. DDT residue levels in Indian Creek‐Huntsville Spring Branch are still extremely high 14 years after the input of DDT was stopped. There has been no significant change in contamination levels during the 4‐year interim between this study and the previous TVA study. Copyright © 1986 SETAC
  • Authors

    Digital Object Identifier (doi)

    Author List

  • Reich AR; Perkins JL; Cutter G
  • Start Page

  • 725
  • End Page

  • 736
  • Volume

  • 5
  • Issue

  • 8