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Proof of concept for the use of macroinvertebrates as indicators of polychlorinated biphenyls (PCB) contamination in Lake Hartwell
Lazorchak, Jim, M. Griffith, M. Mills, J. Schubauer-Berigan, F. McCormick, R. Brenner, AND C. Zeller. Proof of concept for the use of macroinvertebrates as indicators of polychlorinated biphenyls (PCB) contamination in Lake Hartwell. ENVIRONMENTAL TOXICOLOGY AND CHEMISTRY. Society of Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry, Pensacola, FL, 34(6):1277-1282, (2015).
The purpose of this journal article was to test out the use of invertebrates as a method for assessing bioaccumulative substances like PCBs. This paper is a proof of concept paper to support use of artificial substrates at other sites for assessing different sediment remediation efforts.
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has been conducting research to develop methods and tools for the evaluation of monitored natural recovery (MNR) of sediments contaminated with polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs), and other legacy pollutants. MNR is a risk management alternative that relies on existing physical, chemical, and biological processes to contain, destroy, and/or reduce the bioavailability or toxicity of left-in-place contaminants. These processes are monitored to ensure management and recovery is progressing as predicted. One indicator that has been adapted to evaluate the recovery of contaminated sediments and associated biota is the measurement of contaminant tissue levels or body burden concentrations in aquatic macrobenthic invertebrates. In this study, aquatic macrobenthos were examined as an indicator of recent exposure to PCBs at Lake Hartwell (southeastern U.S). The approach was first to determine whether macroinvertebrates collected on artificial substrates (i.e., Hester-Dendy samplers) could discriminate between various contaminated sites and then, to compare the total PCB (t-PCBs) body burden concentrations of collected macroinvertebrates to t-PCB concentrations in sediments collected at those same sites. Macroinvertebrate body burden concentrations showed similar trends to sediment t-PCB concentrations at the sampling sites. Results from this study indicate that macroinvertebrates can be used to assess sediment contamination among sites that have different contamination levels of PCBs.