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LONG ISLAND-NEW JERSEY NAWQA

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Long Island-New Jersey (LINJ) Coastal Drainages Study

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FY1997 Workplan—Surface-Water Activities

The LINJ liaison committee has identified a need to develop a better understanding of the effects of and processes associated with (1) inputs of toxic materials such as, trace elements, VOCs, pesticides, and other synthetic organic compounds, (2) nutrient enrichment, (3) sediment, particularly as related to the fate and transport of toxic materials and nutrients, (4) stormwater quality, and (5) interbasin transfers of water. They suggested the NAWQA study focus on relations between sources and loads of toxics, sediment, nutrients, land use, accumulation in bed sediment, bioaccumulation in tissues, effects on aquatic communities, and other factors.

In summary, district experience along with liaison committee discussion indicate that effects of land use (non-point), especially urban, on water quality are the primary issues in the LINJ SU. Consequently, our surface water activities will focus on pesticides, VOCs, nutrients, and (to some extent) trace elements in the urban environment and how these toxics affect biological communities.

HIP plans as modified by FY96 conference call

As a result of the conference call and other communications between the NLT and LINJ, our final SW network included (Figure SW-1)

(2) indicator IFS (Bound Brook at Middlesex; Upper Great Egg Harbor R at Sicklerville),

(3) indicator BFS (Neshanic R at Reaville; Saddle R at Ridgewood; Stony Brook at Princeton), and

(2) integrator BFS (Passaic R at Two Bridges; Raritan R at Queens Bridge).

Because of the need to define VOC and pesticide occurrence in the LINJ urban environment, however, all sites were sampled for VOC and pesticides in FY96 per their BFS or IFS frequency.

Accomplishments in FY 1996

A reconnaissance survey of VOCs in eight streams located in a variety of land-use settings across New Jersey was conducted in March/April, 1996. At a reporting level of 0.2 ug/l, MTBE was the most frequently detected VOC, occurring in seven of eight streams with concentrations ranging from 0.2 to 4.9 µg/l. Largest concentrations (> 2.5 µg/l) were measured in the three highly urbanized basins (urban land use > 60%). Concentrations of MTBE in samples from the five basins with smaller amounts of urban land were all less than 1.0 µg/l. BTEX compounds were detected only at Passaic R. at Two Bridges and Raritan at Queens Bridge, sites representing our two integrator basins. A fact sheet summarizing this reconnaissance data along with existing VOC data for Long Island and New Jersey streams is in editorial review.

Regular network sampling began April 22, 1996. To further investigate the occurrence of VOCs and pesticides in study unit streams, both basic and intensive fixed sites were sampled for VOCs and pesticides through the fiscal year. A total of 17 samples were collected at each of the 2 IFS and 7-8 samples were collected at the 5 augmented BFS. In summary, 14 VOCs, 19 herbicides, and 8 insecticides were detected among the 69 samples collected at the 7 BFS/IFS sites April 22 - September 30, 1996 (Tables SW-2 and SW-3).

MTBE (58%), chloroform (53%), TCE (32%), TCA (30%), PCE (25%) and methylene chloride (25%) were the most frequently detected VOCs in samples collected at the seven fixed sites (Table SW-2). The highest detection frequencies and concentrations of MTBE, TCE, TCA, and PCE were observed at Bound Brook at Middlesex, the urban IFS indicator basin with 68% urban (44% res. 24% ind.) land use (Table SW-2). Detection frequencies of most detected VOCs were highest in April (Figure SW-2), and, except for the high number of detects in the August samples, decreased through the summer.

Atrazine (100%), prometon (100%), metolachlor (96%), simazine (96%) and alachlor (67%), carbaryl (61%) and diazinon (52%) were the most frequently detected pesticides in samples collected at the seven fixed sites (Table SW-3). In general, the highest concentration of a given pesticide was observed at the site with the highest detection frequency. Highest concentrations of atrazine (10.0 µg/l) and alachlor (4.7 µg/l) were observed at Stony Brook at Princeton, a site draining developing formerly agricultural land. Highest concentrations of prometon (0.099 µg/l), carbaryl (1.5 µg/l), and diazinon (0.3 µg/l) were observed at Bound Brook at Middlesex (Table SW-3). Highest concentrations of metolachlor (5.2 µg/l) were observed at Raritan R at Queens Bridge, an integrator basin of mixed land use. Highest simazine (0.1 µg/l) concentration was observed at Great Egg Harbor River at Sicklerville, a coastal plain site draining rapidly developing land. Pesticide detection frequencies were generally higher in June and July for alachlor, chloropyriferos, and DCPA (Figure SW-3), however, patterns were not distinguishable for most of the other frequently detected pesticides. Detection of 2,4D was twice as high in April as in any of the other months (Figure SW-3).

Contaminants in Bed Sediment and Tissue

Sampling for contaminants in bed sediment and tissue was not a priority in our study unit during FY96. Two papers analyzing the presence and distribution of organic contaminants and trace elements were accepted for publication in Water Resources Bulletin. The historical data base analyzed in these papers consisted of trace element and organic contaminant data from samples collected periodically at 295 sites throughout New Jersey from 1974 to 1993. Samples were collected by the USGS in cooperation with the NJDEP and analyzed at the NWQL. One-third of the sites in the network were sampled each year on a rotating basis; the number of samples collected per site over the study period ranged from 1 to 13. Sample locations included small, low-order streams in addition to locations on major rivers. Bed sediments were collected at four sites in the LINJ fixed-site network 7-11 times since 1974 and analyzed for trace elements and organic contaminants. Because of the wealth of existing data and the lack of consensus among the biologists regarding the relation between bed sediment and tissue contaminant concentrations, we will delay bed sediment sampling until October, FY98.

Basic Fixed Sites

Our basic fixed site network consists of three indicator sites and two integrator sites. Indicator BFS include Saddle River at Ridgewood, Neshanic at Reaville, and Stony Brook at Princeton. The two integrator BFS are Passaic River at Two Bridges and Raritan River at Queen's Bridge (Figure SW-1).

Accomplishments in FY 1996

Sampling at basic fixed sites and intensive fixed sites began April 22, 1996. To determine the occurrence of VOCs and pesticides in our intensively urbanized study unit, our basic-fixed sites were sampled for pesticides and VOCs in addition to regular BFS sample schedules. Integrator BFS were sampled monthly for major ions, nutrients, DOC/SOC, suspended sediment and VOCs; monthly for both pesticide schedules April - July; and monthly for SH2001 only in August and September. Indicator BFS were sampled biweekly for major ions, nutrients, DOC/SOC, suspended sediment, VOCs, and both pesticide schedules April - July; and monthly for all schedules but SH2050 in August and September. FY96 BFS sampling is summarized in Tables SW- 4 and SW- 6. High flow/rising limb samples were collected as summarized in Tables SW- 4 and SW- 8. Additional bed sediment and nutrient data are available for four of the BFS through the cooperative USGS/NJDEP QW network.

Continuous discharge is available for Saddle River at Ridgewood, Neshanic at Reaville, and Stony Brook at Princeton. Discharge data is obtained by correlation with sites directly upstream for Passaic at Two Bridges and Raritan River at Queen's Bridge. Temperature and conductivity are not measured continuously at basic fixed sites.

Proposed work in FY 1997

During FY97 basic fixed sites will be sampled monthly for major ions, nutrients, DOC/SOC, and suspended sediment. BFS will be sampled monthly October - December only for VOCs in order to compare the occurrence in 4 warm months (June - September) and 4 cold months (March, October - December). BFS will be included in the VOC and pesticide synoptic studies planned for early February and early June, respectively (see section Water Quality Synoptics).

Intensive Fixed Sites

Our intensive fixed sites (IFS) were changed from those proposed in the initial work plan to Bound Brook at Middlesex (NENJ-Urban) and Great Egg Harbor River at Sicklerville (CP-Developing Urban).

Accomplishments in FY 1996

IFS were sampled weekly for major ions, nutrients, DOC/SOC, suspended sediment, VOCs and both pesticide schedules April - July and sampled biweekly for all constituents in August and September. FY96 IFS sampling is summarized in Tables SW- 5 and SW-6. High flow/rising limb samples were collected at IFS as summarized in Table SW- 8. Samples were collected at a wide range of flow conditions at the IFS (Table SW- 8). The flow for each sample collected at Bound Brook at Middlesex was plotted on the flow duration curve (Figure SW-4a). The samples were collected at flows ranging from 11.9 cfs (85.7%) to 1,180 cfs (0.4%). The flow duration curve for Great Egg Harbor River at Sicklerville, and the mean flow for each sample through November 1996, is presented in Figure SW-4b. Figures SW-5 and SW-6 show the instantaneous gage height for the period of record through early November at each IFS along with the mean gage height for each sample collected.

Streamflow, specific conductance and temperature were monitored continuously at the two intensive fixed sites. A stream gage shelter was installed at Great Egg Harbor River at Sicklerville on March 27, 1996. An ADR records stage every 15 minutes. A Hydrolab was installed on April 11, 1996, to monitor specific conductance and temperature every hour. A Sierra-Misco model 5096 radio transmitter previously had been installed at Bound Brook at Middlesex to monitor flood stages. The data logger in the Sierra-Misco gage was reprogrammed to record stage every 15 minutes. The stage data is downloaded to the Prime computer and stored as continuous-record stage. A CR10 and minimonitor probe were installed at Bound Brook at Middlesex on July 24, 1996 to continuously monitor specific conductance and temperature every hour.

Instantaneous gage height and specific conductance are shown for each IFS for the period of record in figures SW-7a and SW-8a. Details of Figure SW-7a and SW-8a are shown in Figures SW-7b and SW-8b.

Proposed work in FY 1997

During FY97 IFS were sampled biweekly in October and monthly in November and December for all constituents (VOCs were sampled twice at Bound Brook at Middlesex in November and December). Biweekly VOC sampling will resume January through April; VOCs will be collected monthly May through September. Pesticide sampling frequency will be monthly in January through March; weekly in April through August; and biweekly in September. Major ions, nutrients, DOC/SOC, and suspended sediment will be collected at each visit.

Water-Quality Synoptics

No synoptic water quality studies were funded for FY96.

Proposed work in FY 1997

Four synoptic studies are proposed for FY97:

VOC Reach Study of three streams on Long Island (January or February, 1997)

A fact sheet describing the presence and distribution of VOCs in Long Island streams based on an existing data base compiled by the Suffolk County Department of Health is in review (Terracciano et al.,). Samples were collected and analyzed for 61 VOCs at 93 streams at least twice during 1993-95. Ten VOCs were detected at concentrations greater than 0.5 ppb, including TCA (32.3%), MTBE (29.1%), PCE (21.3%), and TCE (17.3%). Detection frequencies observed in samples collected during the winter period (October-March) of most compounds were greater than those observed in samples collected during the summer period (April-September). The purpose of the proposed synoptic study is to determine the sources of VOCs in three Long Island streams with different detection frequencies of VOCs. Streams selected are Swan River, Sampawams, and Santapogue Creeks. MTBE was detected with no other VOCs in 10 out of 11 samples collected at Swan River. TCA, MTBE and PCE were detected in 100% of the samples collected at Santapogue Creek. At Sampawams Creek, TCA and PCE were detected in close to 100% of samples whereas MTBE was detected in only 25% of samples. Land use in the Swan watershed is old urban residential; land use in Sampawams and Santapogue Creek basins is old urban residential and industrial. 10 VOC samples will be collected among the three streams: 3 on Sampawams, 4 on Santapogue and 3 on Swan. Streams will be sampled for VOCs, field pH, and conductivity only. Stream and air temperature will also be recorded. Discharge measurements will be made at ungaged sites.This study will be conducted by study unit personnel in the LI subdistrict office during the Study Unit VOC Synoptic Study.

VOC Reach Study of Bound Brook (January or February, 1997)

The highest detection frequencies of most of the VOCs detected at sites in the LINJ fixed site network were observed at Bound Brook at Middlesex. To determine the sources of VOCs in this urban indicator stream a synoptic study is planned to sample reaches draining watersheds of different land use. One tributary to Bound Brook drains a watershed of primarily industrial land use and the other tributary drains a watershed of primarily residential land use. These two tributaries were sampled for VOCs along with Bound Brook during a storm September 17, 1996. The concentrations of MTBE ranged from 0.36 µg/l at the site draining residential areas to 1.0 µg/l at the site draining industrial areas. MTBE was 0.52 µg/l at the IFS Bound Brook at Middlesex. MTBE has been detected in all samples collected at the IFS so far with a maximum concentration of 1.0 µg/l, measured 5-7-96. At least 9 locations along the two main tributaries (4 on Green Brook and 5 on Bound Brook) to Bound Brook will be sampled for VOCs, field pH, and conductivity only. Stream and air temperature will also be recorded. Discharge measurements will be made at ungaged sites.This sampling will be conducted during the study unit VOC synoptic study.

Study Unit VOC Synoptic Study (January or February, 1997)

During January or February 1997, 38 sites will be sampled to determine the spatial variability in VOC concentrations and detections in the study unit. Sites will include the LINJ fixed site network and sites selected at part of the algae/benthic invertebrate synoptic study conducted September/October, 1996. Long Island sites are not included in the SU Synoptic Study because of the large existing VOC data set for Suffolk County streams. The samples will be collected in January or February to coincide with the coldest months of the year when VOC concentrations are expected to be highest. Streams will be sampled for VOCs, field pH, and conductivity only. Stream and air temperature will also be recorded. Continuous stream level recorders or staff gages are present in the near vicinity of each site. This study will be conducted by study unit personnel in the NJ district office in late January or February. Sample collection will take 3 days with 3 teams sampling 6-7 sites a day.

Study Unit Pesticide Synoptic Study (Late May, Early June, 1997)

Approximately 38 sites will be sampled in late May/early June to determine the spatial variability in pesticide concentrations and detections in the study unit. Sites will include the LINJ fixed site network and sites selected as part of the algae/benthic invertebrate synoptic study conducted September/October, 1996. Pesticide concentrations are expected to be highest during runoff periods following application. Streams will be sampled for pesticides, nutrients, major ions, DOC/SOC, and suspended sediment. Samples will be collected by two teams at 3-4 sites a day each, and processed in the lab by a third team on the same day. Sampling should be completed in one and a half weeks.

Information related to NAWQA can be obtained from:

NAWQA Project Chief, USGS
810 Bear Tavern Road, Suite 206
West Trenton, New Jersey 08628
Phone 609-771-3943

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