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LONG-TERM RECOVERY OF PCB-CONTAMINATED SURFACE SEDIMENTS AT THE SANGAMO-WESTON/TWELVEMILE CREEK/LAKE HARTWELL SUPERFUND SITE
Brenner*, R C., V. S. Magar, J. A. Ickes, Foote, J. E. Abbott, L. S. Bingler, AND E. A. Crecelius. LONG-TERM RECOVERY OF PCB-CONTAMINATED SURFACE SEDIMENTS AT THE SANGAMO-WESTON/TWELVEMILE CREEK/LAKE HARTWELL SUPERFUND SITE. 10.1021/es030650d, Schnoor, J. (ed.), ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY. American Chemical Society, Washington, DC, 38(8):2328-2337, (2004).
To evaluate the natural recovery of surface sediments contaminated with polychlorinated biphenyls at the Sangamo-Weston/Twelvemile Creek/Lake Harwell Superfund Site (Lake Hartwell), Pickens County, SC.
Natural recovery of contaminated sediments relies on burial of contaminated sediments with increasingly clean sediments over time (i.e., natural capping). Natural capping reduces the risk of resuspension of contaminated surface sediments, and it reduces the potential for contaminant transport into the food chain by limiting bioturbation of contaminated surface or near-surface sediments. This study evaluated the natural recovery of surface sediments contaminated with polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) at the Sangamo-Westonl/Twelvemile Creek/Lake Hartwell Superfund Site (Lake Hartwell), Pickens County, SC. The primary focus was on sediment recovery resulting from natural capping processes. Total PCB (t-PCB), lead-210 (210Pb), and cesium-137 (137CS) sediment core profiles were used to establish vertical t-PCB concentration profiles, age date sediments, and determine surface sedimentation and surface sediment recovery rates in 18 cores collected along 10 transects. Four upgradient transects in the headwaters of Lake Hartwell were impacted by historical sediment releases from three upgradient sediment impoundments. These transects were characterized by silt/clay and sand layering. The highest PCB concentrations wer associated with silt/clay layers (1.8-3.5% total organic carbon (TOC)), while sand layers (0.05-0.32% TOC) contained much lower PCB concentrations. The historical sediment releases resulted in substantial burial of PCB-contaminated sediment in the vicinity of these four cores; each core contained less than 1 mg/kg t-PCBs in the surface sand layers. Cores collected from six downgradient Lake Hartwell transects consisted primarily of silt and clay (0.91-5.1% TOC) and were less noticeably impacted by the release of sand from the impoundments. Vertical t-PCB concentration profiles in these cores began with relatively low PCB concentrations at the sediment-water interface and increased in concentration with depth until maximum PCB concentrations were measured at ~30-60 cm below the sediment-water interface, ca. 1960-1980. Maximum t-PCB concentrations were followed by progressively decreasing concentrations with depth until the t-PCB concentrations approached the detection limit, where sediments were likely deposited before the onset of PCB use at the Sangamo-Weston plant. The sediments containing the maximum PCB concentrations are associated with the period of maximum PCB release into the watershed. Sedimentation rates averages 2.1±1.5 g/(cm2 yr) for 12 of 18 cores collected. The 1994 Record of Decision cleanup requirement is 1.0 mg/kg; two more goals (0.4 and 0.5 mg/kg t-PCBs) also were identified. Average surface sedimentation requirements to meet the three goals were 1.4 ± 3.7, 11 ± 4.2, and 33 ± 11 cm, respectively. Using the age dating results, the average recovery dates to meet these goals were 2000.6 ± 2.7, 2007.4 ± 3.5, and 2022.7 ± 11 yr, respectively. (The 95% prediction limits for these values also are provided.) Despite the reduction in surface sediment PCB concentrations, PCB concentrations measured in largemouth bass and hybrid bass filets continue to exceed the 2.0 mg/kg FDA fish tolerance level.