July 7, 2009

Ike’s effects on waterways studied

U.S. scientists are studying Hurricane Ike's effect on Galveston, Texas, water pollution levels to determine whether fish-consumption rules are still needed.

University of Houston researchers said their findings might offer important information about the effects of last September's storm. The research team is now collecting and analyzing analyze fresh water and fish samples from Galveston Bay and related waterways.

Texas officials issued an advisory last summer for the Galveston Bay area, urging consumers to limit intake of spotted sea trout, also known as speckled trout, and gafttop catfish to no more than one 8-ounce meal a month. Officials said the advisory was issued because of dioxin and polychlorinated biphenyls pollution that can cause, among other things, cancer.

Our work with the Galveston Bay system started in the early '90s with funding from the EPA Galveston Bay National Estuary Program, Professor Hanadi Rifai, who is leading the study, said. "We have since focused on "¦ persistent organic pollutants, which include dioxins and "¦ PCBs.

We have a unique opportunity this year to study the effect of Hurricane Ike on these pollutants "¦ so we are gathering a one-of-its-kind data set for the 'after' condition that we can compare to our pre-Ike 2008 data set.

The hurricane made U.S. landfall at Galveston Sept. 13, 2008, at 2:10 a.m. CDT as a Category 2 storm, Wikipedia said.