Document Type


Date of Award



College of Science, Engineering, and Technology (COSET)

Degree Name

MS in Environmental Toxicology

First Advisor

Professor Mahmoud Saleh


Water, the most abundant compound, can become easily polluted owing to its high polarity. Water pollution can be classified into two main categories namely point source of pollution in which the source of pollutants can be identified and non-source of pollution in which the source of pollutants cannot be traced or identified to a specific location. This study is focused on point source of pollution. A typical example is the Houston Ship Channel, which has being subjected to considerable amounts of chemical pollutants due to high levels of industrial and transportation activities. Scientists today have made the study of this water to become a major research program. Epidemiological studies have shown that consumption of finfish from the channel near the San Jacinto River could lead to certain types of cancer. The result of this is the presence of dioxins found in the finfish. Aside from this, the finfish from the turning basin contain other organochlorine (Fest, Villanacci, Ward &Williams, 2001). In addition, it was deduced that children are prone to high risks of cancer at their early gestation stage from breast feeding due to ingestion of toxicants by their mothers (United State Environmental Protection Agency [USEPA], (2000). The higher demand for 1 2 seafood has driven scientists into looking for means of improving these chemical pollutants using different methods. ( Although extensive research work had been done on the Houston Ship Channel, the focus of the study has not been comprehensive enough to include the study of organic pollutants. The present study is aimed at analysis and identification of both inorganic and organic .pollutants in composite water collected from the Houston Ship Channel following the method of (Eaton, Lenore & Arnold, 1995). Filtration: Filtration process will first be done immediately after collection. This process will be done through a 0.45um membrane filter and immediately acidified with nitric acid to pH < 2 prior to analysis. Analysis for organic pollutants: Organic pollutants will be analyzed using EPA I Method 8081 using the solid phase extraction. 500ml of the filtered water will be extracted using a solvent mixture of 1 :2 methylene chloride and acetone for organic extracts into a 10ml vial. This extracts will then be dried to about 3ml using the nitrogen gas. Gas Chromatography/Mass Spectrometry will help in identifying these compounds. Analysis for inorganic pollutants: AI: 10 dilution of filtered water and deionized water will be used for this analysis. Inorganic pollutants will be detected using ion chromatography (a dionex gradient system, from Sunnyvale CA). This technique provides quantitative analysis of anions and cations at the part per billion levels. After all analysis is completed, the results will help in knowing the health hazards imposed on humans and suggested ways of improving the channel will be drawn.