Determination of the levels of polychlorinated biphenyl (PCBs) in some environmental samples in the vicinity of selected transformers of the Electricity Company of Ghana (ECG), in Kumasi, Ghana.

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As a contribution to requirements towards Ghana’s obligations to the Stockholm Convention on Persistent Organic Pollutants (POPs), 22 transformer oil samples, 23 soil samples and leaf samples from 3 sites in the Kumasi metropolis have been analysed for Polychiorinated Biphenyls (PCBs) as Aroclors 1260, 1248, 1221 and Congeners 118, 138 and 180. Out of the 22 transformer oil samples, 20 were from functional 2° transformers in operation at the time of sampling. The two other samples were from a Transformer Maintenance Workshop. Selected transformers whose oils were analysed were manufactured from 1960 to 1975 and then 2000. Soils analysed were taken within a 15cm depth from the soil surface and within Ca. 1Dm radius of the transformer locations. Samples from a Case Study plantain farm suspected to be contaminated due to its proximity to a Transformer Maintenance Workshop were also analysed for PCBs. Samples from a farm remote from possible PCB sources (referred herein as the Control Farm) were analysed in a control experiment. All sampling was done between January and February 2004. Agilent Technologies 6890N series GC-μECD equipped with a 7683 series Automatic Liquid Sampler and oprated with the Chemstation version N.04.10 was used for the PCB analyses. The median Aroclor 1260 concentration in the 22 transformer oils for a range of <0.2816μgg̵‾1 to 516.443 μgg‾1, was <0.2816μgg‾1 The levels of Aroclors 1248 and 1221 in the transformer oils were below the Method Detection Limits of 0.l65Oppm and 0.2520ppm respectively. PCB congener 180 in transformer oil samples had a range of <0.2887μgg‾1 to 528.4401pgg‾1 and a median value of <0.2887μgg‾1. PCB 118 and PCB 138 had ranges of <0.2923μgg‾1 to 465.9035μgg‾1 and <O.2915μgg‾1 to 567.0558μgg‾1 respectively. No’PCBs were detected in the soil samples from the operational transformers and the maintenance workshop. Soil and Leaf samples analysed from the Case Study and Control farms did not register any levels of PCBs either as Aroclors or Congeners. Total Organic Carbon Content of the soil samples from the 20 functional transformer sites analysed gave the ff. statistics: mean of 1 .221% and a median of 1.198% for the range, 1.676%. Moisture content of soils was also determined pH determination for the same soils for a pH range of 4.1, gave a mean and median of 6.895 and 7.250 respectively. These soil characterisation parameters were hoped to aid in investigating relational trends with PCB content. However all soil levels were below detection and this was not realised.
A Thesis submitted to the Department of Chemistry, Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of Master of Science (Analytical Chemistry, 2005