Investigation of Textile Dyes as a Groundwater Contaminant in Mandalay Myanmar

Wednesday, December 5, 2018: 12:00 p.m.
Exhibit Hall- C4 & C5 (Las Vegas Convention Center)
Surya Freeman , Geology and Environmental Geosciences, Northern Illinois University, Dekalb, IL
Melissa Lenczewski, Ph.D. , Northern Illinois University, DeKalb, IL

Textile dyeing of traditional garments has occurred in the Amarapura Township of Mandalay, Myanmar since 1822, transitioning from natural to chemical dyes in the early 1900’s. With no current wastewater treatment facilities in Mandalay, dye effluents mix with other wastewaters in unlined canals dug near peoples’ homes and discharge into local waterways. As locals rely heavily on dug and tube wells near these canals for drinking, bathing, and cooking, this industry poses a major health hazard to people in the region. The objective of this study is to identify and quantify the concentrations of major ions and heavy metals found in textile dye effluents and determine the impact on local groundwater. Water samples from each stage of the dye process have helped to identify the previously unknown composition of dye powders, while samples collected from tube and dug wells, both at dyeing sites and upgradient have been used to assess the geochemistry of contaminated and background water sources. Preliminary results identified heavy metals in varying concentrations throughout each step of this process. The highest levels of heavy metals were found at the openings of discharge pipes, where multiple dyes mix together before spreading to the surrounding environment. Heavily reducing environments were also identified in the dye mixtures and nearby tube wells, resulting from the high basicity of the mixtures. High electrical conductivity was recorded in both dye bath mixtures and local tube wells due to the addition of sodium hydroxide in one of the initial steps of dyeing to strengthen color fastness. These results are not seen in samples taken from upgradient of the select dyeing operations. Textile dyeing is a major source of pollution and a health hazard to the people here, however locals are not readily connecting the dye practices to the issues with their drinking water.

Surya Freeman, Geology and Environmental Geosciences, Northern Illinois University, Dekalb, IL
I am a current graduate student attending Northern Illinois University seeking a Master's Degree in Geology. My research focus is contaminant hydrogeology in Southeast Asia.

Melissa Lenczewski, Ph.D., Northern Illinois University, DeKalb, IL
Melissa Lenczewski is an Associate Professor of Geomicrobiology and Organic Geochemistry in the Department of Geology and Environmental Geosciences and the Department of Biological Sciences at Northern Illinois University. She has substantial expertise with methods such as molecular techniques and PFLA techniques for detection of microorganisms in soil and water. She also has expertise in detection of simple organic compounds in water. Lenczewski conducted research on groundwater in the Yucatan Peninsula.