Water Quality in an Environmental Justice Community in Durham, NC
Environmental Justice Communities are usually minority communities of low socio-economic status with a concern of increased risk from point source pollution not present in other communities. A priority of the U.S. EPA is to empower these communities to advocate for themselves. Toward that end, EPA has entered into a cooperative agreement with the Department of Environmental Earth and Geospatial Sciences at North Carolina Central University, Durham, NC, to perform preliminary community based participatory studies and to establish the infrastructure for long-term interactions with environmental justice communities. In central Durham, housing and commercial properties are intermingled creating a concern for increased pollution and poor water quality in area creeks. To determine if current or past commercial practices impacted creeks, organochlorines (pesticides and polychlorinated biphenyls), polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons and heavy metals were quantified in water and sediment samples collected during the summer of 2007 from nine creeks located in six parks in the study area. Water quality measurements and contaminant concentrations were compared to regulatory values. To date, few water quality and no contaminant concentrations were above regulatory levels. The results are being shared with members of community organizations at community functions.
KeywordsPolycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbon Total Organic Carbon Water Quality Measurement Community Concern East Central
We would like to thank Kai Ngegba, Aiqun Yu, Janay Jones, and Kimberly Outen for their hard work. We would also like to thank Wayne Randolph for his assistance in planning and implementing the sample collection. This study was supported by U.S. EPA cooperative agreement R-82946901.