John F. Obrycki's Graduate Defense Seminar
John F. Obrycki, PhD Candidate, Soil Science will present Managing Soils for Environmental and Public Health as his Graduate Defense Seminar in 245 Kottman Hall.
Management of soil hazards in urban areas requires treatments which are scientifically effective and accepted by both the public and regulators. Soil management options must consider all three of these components during evaluation. The concept of managing soil hazards to reduce contaminant exposure must be expanded to include considerations of soil function and soil health following remediation. Bioavailability assessments must be included with soil hazard assessments to improve hazard characterization. Soil hazard and soil health indicators can be combined in a comprehensive index, though the relative importance of each factor within the index will be site specific. Widespread quantifiable soil contaminants in urban areas, such as lead (Pb), arsenic (As), and polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs), coupled with slow regulatory movement on how to manage these contaminants can reduce the public’s perceived risk. This combination may reduce public support for widespread contaminant cleanup. Interdisciplinary research initiatives are needed to evaluate soil contaminants and soil health, public and regulatory acceptance of soil hazards and treatments, and the public health implications of these cleanup activities. These studies are particularly needed in urban areas because these locations demonstrate variable soil contaminant concentrations over small geographic spaces. Addressing these soil contaminants may have substantial public health, social, environmental, and economic benefits. These contaminants and their impacts must be evaluated within the broader public health exposome.