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Title: Risks to Ecological Receptors Posed by Contaminants of Potential Concern in the Lower Three Runs Cooling Ponds and Canals

Abstract

The upper portion of Lower Three Runs includes several ponds, reservoirs, and canals that were formerly used as a cooling system for nuclear production reactors. This area was divided into nine exposure areas (EAs) for the assessment of environmental contamination resulting from past reactor operations and other industrial processes. A tiered screening process identified several contaminants of potential concern including aluminum, cyanide, lead, manganese, mercury, DDD, DDE, and DDT. Risks posed by these contaminants to ecological receptors (river otter, belted kingfisher, raccoon, and blue heron) were assessed using contaminant exposure models that estimated contaminant intake resulting from ingestion of food, water, and sediment/ soil and compared these intakes with toxicity reference values (TRVs). The contaminant exposure models showed that the TRVs were not exceeded in the otter model, exceeded by aluminum in EA 7 (Pond 2 and associated canals) in the raccoon model, and exceeded by mercury in EAs 2, 3 (Pond B), 6 (Par Pond), and 8 (Ponds 4 and 5 and Canal to Pond C) in both the kingfisher and blue heron models. Hazard quotients (total exposure dose divided by the TRV) were 2.8 for aluminum and 1.7- 3.6 for mercury. The primary route of exposure for aluminummore » was the ingestion of soil, and the primary route of exposure for mercury was the ingestion of mercury contaminated fish. Elevated levels of mercury in fish were at least partly the result of the aerial deposition of mercury onto Lower Three Runs and its watershed. The atmospheric deposition of mercury creates pervasive contamination in fish throughout the Savannah River basin. Another possible source of mercury was the discharge of mercury contaminated Savannah River water into the Lower Three Runs cooling ponds and canals during previous years of reactor operation. This contamination originated from industries located upstream of the SRS. The aluminum exceedance for the raccoon was likely the result of naturally high aluminum levels in SRS soils rather than SRS operations. Aluminum exceedances have previously been observed in relatively undisturbed background locations as well as areas affected by SRS operations. Aluminum exceedances are more likely with the raccoon than the other receptors because it consumes more soil as a result of its feeding habits. Sensitivity analysis showed that model uncertainty can be reduced by adequate sampling of key variables (e.g., fish and sediments). Although sediment samples were collected from all EAs, fish samples were not collected from three EAs and some analytes (pesticides and cyanide) were not measured in fish. Water-to-fish concentration ratios were used to estimate contaminant levels in fish when direct measurements from fish were unavailable; however, such estimates are potentially less accurate than direct measurements.« less

Authors:
 [1];  [1]
  1. Savannah River Site (SRS), Aiken, SC (United States). Savannah River National Lab. (SRNL)
Publication Date:
Research Org.:
Savannah River Site (SRS), Aiken, SC (United States)
Sponsoring Org.:
USDOE
OSTI Identifier:
1348179
Report Number(s):
SRNL-STI-2017-00122
DOE Contract Number:  
AC09-08SR22470
Resource Type:
Technical Report
Country of Publication:
United States
Language:
English
Subject:
54 ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCES

Citation Formats

Paller, M., and Blas, S. Risks to Ecological Receptors Posed by Contaminants of Potential Concern in the Lower Three Runs Cooling Ponds and Canals. United States: N. p., 2017. Web. doi:10.2172/1348179.
Paller, M., & Blas, S. Risks to Ecological Receptors Posed by Contaminants of Potential Concern in the Lower Three Runs Cooling Ponds and Canals. United States. doi:10.2172/1348179.
Paller, M., and Blas, S. Tue . "Risks to Ecological Receptors Posed by Contaminants of Potential Concern in the Lower Three Runs Cooling Ponds and Canals". United States. doi:10.2172/1348179. https://www.osti.gov/servlets/purl/1348179.
@article{osti_1348179,
title = {Risks to Ecological Receptors Posed by Contaminants of Potential Concern in the Lower Three Runs Cooling Ponds and Canals},
author = {Paller, M. and Blas, S.},
abstractNote = {The upper portion of Lower Three Runs includes several ponds, reservoirs, and canals that were formerly used as a cooling system for nuclear production reactors. This area was divided into nine exposure areas (EAs) for the assessment of environmental contamination resulting from past reactor operations and other industrial processes. A tiered screening process identified several contaminants of potential concern including aluminum, cyanide, lead, manganese, mercury, DDD, DDE, and DDT. Risks posed by these contaminants to ecological receptors (river otter, belted kingfisher, raccoon, and blue heron) were assessed using contaminant exposure models that estimated contaminant intake resulting from ingestion of food, water, and sediment/ soil and compared these intakes with toxicity reference values (TRVs). The contaminant exposure models showed that the TRVs were not exceeded in the otter model, exceeded by aluminum in EA 7 (Pond 2 and associated canals) in the raccoon model, and exceeded by mercury in EAs 2, 3 (Pond B), 6 (Par Pond), and 8 (Ponds 4 and 5 and Canal to Pond C) in both the kingfisher and blue heron models. Hazard quotients (total exposure dose divided by the TRV) were 2.8 for aluminum and 1.7- 3.6 for mercury. The primary route of exposure for aluminum was the ingestion of soil, and the primary route of exposure for mercury was the ingestion of mercury contaminated fish. Elevated levels of mercury in fish were at least partly the result of the aerial deposition of mercury onto Lower Three Runs and its watershed. The atmospheric deposition of mercury creates pervasive contamination in fish throughout the Savannah River basin. Another possible source of mercury was the discharge of mercury contaminated Savannah River water into the Lower Three Runs cooling ponds and canals during previous years of reactor operation. This contamination originated from industries located upstream of the SRS. The aluminum exceedance for the raccoon was likely the result of naturally high aluminum levels in SRS soils rather than SRS operations. Aluminum exceedances have previously been observed in relatively undisturbed background locations as well as areas affected by SRS operations. Aluminum exceedances are more likely with the raccoon than the other receptors because it consumes more soil as a result of its feeding habits. Sensitivity analysis showed that model uncertainty can be reduced by adequate sampling of key variables (e.g., fish and sediments). Although sediment samples were collected from all EAs, fish samples were not collected from three EAs and some analytes (pesticides and cyanide) were not measured in fish. Water-to-fish concentration ratios were used to estimate contaminant levels in fish when direct measurements from fish were unavailable; however, such estimates are potentially less accurate than direct measurements.},
doi = {10.2172/1348179},
journal = {},
number = ,
volume = ,
place = {United States},
year = {Tue Mar 21 00:00:00 EDT 2017},
month = {Tue Mar 21 00:00:00 EDT 2017}
}

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