Passive Sampling Project – Atoyac River study

4th Dec, 2015

By Lisa Jones (MESTECH).

While we are prepare to deploy the passive sampling devices, let’s take a look at the study catchment: the Atoyac River (Río Atoyac).

As mentioned in the last post, the Atoyac River is polluted by 50 municipalities of Tlaxcala and Puebla, that discharge their waste water outdoors and at least a thousand industries that do not have treatment plants or do not function properly, and this has led to this tributary containing at least 25 known harmful substances and is a source of infection for diseases like hepatitis, cancer and cholera. Among the main polluters are the substances  by discharges from textile companies, food, chemical and petrochemical, beverage, metal-working, automotive and producing auto parts and paper.



The image above shows areas of contamination along the Atoyac River, sources of toxic emissions and land usage in the area. Residential areas and golf courses are in close proximity to these point sources of pollution along the river. Also, with many textile companies discharging wastewater in this area, and Mexico’s current lack of legislation covering the discharge of dyes and colorings, images such as the one below show the effect this is having on the river.



This image was published as part of a study published in 2006 by Pilar Saldaña Fabela and Ma. Antonieta Gómez Balandra, “CARACTERIZACIÓN DE FUENTES PUNTUALES DE CONTAMINACIÓN EN EL RÍO ATOYAC, MÉXICO.”

We will be deploying passive samplers at 4 locations along the river, and will be supplementing this data with grab samples of water to be extracted and tested for pesticides, polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) and pharmaceutical compounds. The proposed sites are highlighted on the map below.
This study will be paralleled with the work to be carried out with Tech. de Monterrey beginning next week.