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Title: Mercury Content of Sediments in East Fork Poplar Creek: Current Assessment and Past Trends

Abstract

This study provided new information on sediment mercury (Hg) and monomethylmercury (MMHg) content and chemistry. The current inventory of Hg in East Fork Poplar Creek (EFPC) bed sediments was estimated to be 334 kg, which represents a ~67% decrease relative to the initial investigations in 1984. MMHg sediment inventory was estimated to be 44.1 g, lower but roughly similar to past estimates. The results support the relevance and potential impacts of other active and planned investigations within the Mercury Remediation Technology Development for Lower East Fork Poplar Creek project (e.g., assessment and control of bank soil inputs, sorbents for Hg and MMHg removal, re-introduction of freshwater clams to EFPC), and identify gaps in current understanding that represent opportunities to understand controlling variables that may inform future technology development studies.

Authors:
 [1];  [1];  [1];  [1];  [1];  [1];  [1];  [1];  [1];  [2];  [1]
  1. Oak Ridge National Lab. (ORNL), Oak Ridge, TN (United States)
  2. Queen's Univ., Belfast (United Kingdom)
Publication Date:
Research Org.:
Oak Ridge National Lab. (ORNL), Oak Ridge, TN (United States)
Sponsoring Org.:
USDOE
OSTI Identifier:
1338545
Report Number(s):
ORNL/TM-2016/578
TRN: US1701443
DOE Contract Number:
AC05-00OR22725
Resource Type:
Technical Report
Country of Publication:
United States
Language:
English
Subject:
54 ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCES; 37 INORGANIC, ORGANIC, PHYSICAL, AND ANALYTICAL CHEMISTRY; MERCURY; METHYLMERCURY; TIME DEPENDENCE; STREAMS; SEDIMENTS; OAK RIDGE; INVENTORIES; CHEMICAL REACTIONS; ABUNDANCE; SOILS

Citation Formats

Brooks, Scott C., Eller, Virginia A., Dickson, Johnbull O., Earles, Jennifer E., Lowe, Kenneth Alan, Mehlhorn, Tonia L., Olsen, Todd A., DeRolph, Christopher R., Watson, David J., Phillips, Debra H., and Peterson, Mark J. Mercury Content of Sediments in East Fork Poplar Creek: Current Assessment and Past Trends. United States: N. p., 2017. Web. doi:10.2172/1338545.
Brooks, Scott C., Eller, Virginia A., Dickson, Johnbull O., Earles, Jennifer E., Lowe, Kenneth Alan, Mehlhorn, Tonia L., Olsen, Todd A., DeRolph, Christopher R., Watson, David J., Phillips, Debra H., & Peterson, Mark J. Mercury Content of Sediments in East Fork Poplar Creek: Current Assessment and Past Trends. United States. doi:10.2172/1338545.
Brooks, Scott C., Eller, Virginia A., Dickson, Johnbull O., Earles, Jennifer E., Lowe, Kenneth Alan, Mehlhorn, Tonia L., Olsen, Todd A., DeRolph, Christopher R., Watson, David J., Phillips, Debra H., and Peterson, Mark J. Sun . "Mercury Content of Sediments in East Fork Poplar Creek: Current Assessment and Past Trends". United States. doi:10.2172/1338545. https://www.osti.gov/servlets/purl/1338545.
@article{osti_1338545,
title = {Mercury Content of Sediments in East Fork Poplar Creek: Current Assessment and Past Trends},
author = {Brooks, Scott C. and Eller, Virginia A. and Dickson, Johnbull O. and Earles, Jennifer E. and Lowe, Kenneth Alan and Mehlhorn, Tonia L. and Olsen, Todd A. and DeRolph, Christopher R. and Watson, David J. and Phillips, Debra H. and Peterson, Mark J.},
abstractNote = {This study provided new information on sediment mercury (Hg) and monomethylmercury (MMHg) content and chemistry. The current inventory of Hg in East Fork Poplar Creek (EFPC) bed sediments was estimated to be 334 kg, which represents a ~67% decrease relative to the initial investigations in 1984. MMHg sediment inventory was estimated to be 44.1 g, lower but roughly similar to past estimates. The results support the relevance and potential impacts of other active and planned investigations within the Mercury Remediation Technology Development for Lower East Fork Poplar Creek project (e.g., assessment and control of bank soil inputs, sorbents for Hg and MMHg removal, re-introduction of freshwater clams to EFPC), and identify gaps in current understanding that represent opportunities to understand controlling variables that may inform future technology development studies.},
doi = {10.2172/1338545},
journal = {},
number = ,
volume = ,
place = {United States},
year = {Sun Jan 01 00:00:00 EST 2017},
month = {Sun Jan 01 00:00:00 EST 2017}
}

Technical Report:

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  • This report presents results from a study conducted to determine the toxicity of Mercury in soils sediments samples. Mice were fed via diet, soils and sediment, from various locations along the East Fork Poplar creek. Tissue distribution of pollutants was determined at various intervals. The tissue level relative to toxicity was used to determine the effect of a complex matrix on the gastrointestinal absorption and tissue distribution of the pollutants (other pollutants included cadmium and selenium).
  • A one-month study was performed to determine the concentration of mercury in sediment, fish, moss, and pasture grass in the East Fork Poplar Creek (EFPC) and Bear Creek drainages and to determine whether mercury is still being released from the Y-12 Plant. Total mercury concentration in a sediment core from New Hope Pond was 100 ..mu..g/g dry wt at the surface and up to 300 ..mu..g/g dry wt in subsurface sediments, relative to background concentrations of less than 0.3 ..mu..g/g dry wt. There has been an apparent decrease since 1973 in mercury concentration of sediment entering New Hope Pond. Totalmore » mercury concentration in muscle tissue of bluegill from EFPC was positively correlated with body weight, as expected. Total mercury concentration averaged 3.5 and 0.2 ..mu..g/g fresh wt for dead and live foliage in pasture grass, respectively, on the flood plain of EFPC. Results for Bear Creek indicate that this drainage is considerably less contaminated with mercury than East Fork Poplar Creek. The concentration in the sediment was 13 ..mu..g/g dry wt near the settling basins at the west end of the Y-12 Plant area, but decreased to background concentrations before the confluence of Bear Creek with EFPC. Total mercury concentration in fish, except for one rock bass, did not exceed the FDA action level. Recommendations are made (1) to limit the quantity of mercury released from the Y-12 Plant area into EFPC, (2) to consider notifying the responsible state agencies and fishermen concerning mercury concentrations found in fish in EFPC, and (3) to measure mercury concentration in hair from cattle grazing on pasture grasses along EFPC. Recommendations concerning further monitoring are also made. 15 references, 3 figures, 8 tables.« less
  • Studies conducted by Van Winkle, et al., (1984), on East Fork Poplar Creek (EFPC) documented the system to be contaminated by mercury originating from the Department of Energy's Y-12 Plant. Specifically, the study showed that the fine sediments in the stream were significantly contaminated with mercury; the mercury contamination was highest near the Y-12 discharge and decreased in downstream sediments, and fish in the system had mercury concentrations in muscle tissue exceeding FDA limits of 1.0 ppM.
  • Thermal desorption is an innovative technology that has seen significant growth in applications to organically contaminated soils and sludges for the remediation of hazardous, radioactive and mixed waste sites. This paper will present the results of a bench and pilot-scale demonstration of this technology for the removal of mercury from the Lower East Fork Poplar Creek floodplain soil. Results demonstrate that the mercury in this soil can be successfully removed to the target treatment levels of 10 milligrams per kilogram (mg/kg) and that all process residuals could be rendered RCRA-nonhazardous as defined by the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act. Samplingmore » and analyses of the desorber off-gas before and after the air pollution control system demonstrated effective collection of mercury and organic constituents. Pilot-scale testing was also conducted to verify requirements for material handling of soil into and out of the process. This paper will also present a conceptual design and preliminary costs of a full-scale system, including feed preparation, thermal treatment, and residuals handling for the soil.« less
  • The initial risk assessment for the East Fork Poplar Creek (EFPC) floodplain in Oak Ridge, Tennessee, a superfund site heavily contaminated with mercury, was based upon a reference dose for mercuric chloride, a soluble mercury compound not expected to be present in the floodplain, which is frequently saturated with water. Previous investigations had suggested mercury in the EFPC floodplain was less soluble and therefore less bioavailable than mercuric chloride, possibly making the results of the risk assessment unduly conservative. A bioavailability study, designed to measure the amount of mercury available for absorption in a child`s digestive tract, the most criticalmore » risk endpoint and pathway, was performed on twenty soils from the EFPC floodplain. The average percentage of mercury released during the study for the twenty soils was 5.3%, compared to 100% of the compound mercuric chloride subjected to the same conditions. Alteration of the procedure to test additional conditions possible during soil digestion did not appreciably alter the results. Therefore, use of a reference dose for mercuric chloride in the EFPC risk assessment without inclusion of a corresponding bioavailability factor may be unduly conservative.« less