John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

Effectiveness of a Sediment Time Critical Removal Action – PCB Reduction in Fish Tissue, Surface Water and Sediment via Wet Excavation

Documenting successful remediation of polychlorinated biphenyl (PCB)‐contaminated sediments is limited; potentially due to inadequate monitoring methods, complexities associated with the environment, and selected remedial techniques. At some sites, absence of appropriate baseline and post‐removal monitoring limits proper evaluation of remedial efficacy. Accurate interpretation of interactions between media, space, time, species, lipid content, and remedial technique requires robust study design and data. This paper presents baseline and post‐removal data documenting reduced PCB concentrations in fish tissue, surface water, and sediment in response to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (US EPA) Time‐Critical Removal Action (TCRA) that was conducted at the former Bryant Mill Pond (BMP) on Portage Creek in Kalamazoo, Michigan. The BMP is part of an Operable Unit (OU) within the Allied Paper, Inc./Portage Creek/Kalamazoo River Superfund Site (site). PCBs discharged to the creek as a byproduct of carbonless copy paper recycling are the primary contaminant of concern. Paper waste residuals commonly appear as gray to light gray clays in river sediments and floodplain soils. The cleanup criterion was 10 mg/kg, with a residual PCB concentration goal of 1 mg/kg. Because the PCB‐containing waste is (generally) associated with readily visible light gray clay, excavation of all visibly contaminated current or formerly impounded sediment served as a surrogate for the cleanup criteria and goal. Sediment was wet excavated and backfilled following diversion of the creek. Following confirmation that PCB concentrations met cleanup criteria, the stream was diverted to the excavated side, and excavation and backfilling were completed. Overall, 146,000 cubic yards of material including PCB‐contaminated sediments were removed from the BMP. The Long‐Term Monitoring (LTM) program implemented by the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality (MDEQ), and historic data from a variety of sources (federal/state/local agencies and responsible parties) provide data demonstrating TCRA effectiveness. Prior to TCRA surface sediment PCB concentration in instream and formerly inundated sediment combined was 83mg/kg (with a maximum of 700 mg/kg). Instream sediments which are more representative of fish exposures had a pre‐TCRA SWAC of 27 mg/kg. The post TCRA SWAC for instream and floodplain sediments combined was 0.26 mg/kg. Average surface water concentrations at the downstream end of the BMP were reduced from 0.11 ug/l pre‐TCRA to 0.0025 ug/l post‐TCRA. Tissue samples for adult carp fillets decreased from 4 mg/kg pre‐TCRA to 0.26mg/kg post‐TCRA; whole body white suckers from 3 mg/kg pre‐TCRA to 0.1 mg/kg post‐TCRA; whole body channel catfish from 39 mg/kg‐L pre‐ TCRA to 2.6 mg/kg‐L post‐TCRA. Concentrations of PCBs in two species of resident fish (carp and white suckers), caged channel catfish, surface water, and sediment were reduced by over one order of magnitude within one year of completion, substantively accelerating natural recovery processes. A slight increase in PCB concentration was observed in both whole body suckers and adult carp fillets in the second monitoring period post‐TCRA; however, these concentrations are still near an order of magnitude less than pre‐TCRA concentrations and appear to be currently stable or on a slight downward trend. Integr Environ Assess Manag © 2014 SETAC

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