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Phase II Trackdown of PCBs and PCDD/Fs in the Elizabeth River, New Jersey

Project Title: Phase II Trackdown of PCBs and PCDD/Fs in the Elizabeth River, New Jersey
Project Number: LJ00DDH
Project Chief:
Project Start Date: 15-MAR-2008
Project End Date:

Project Objectives

  1. to confirm that the West Branch tributary is the major source of PCB and PCDD/F contamination above the head-oftide on the Elizabeth River,
  2. to identify potential sources of this contamination, and
  3. to provide additional data and analyses to assist the TMDL/WLA process in NY-NJ Harbor.

Statement of Problem

Data collected during Phase I of the NJ Toxics Reduction Workplan for NY-NJ Harbor (NJTRWP) at the Elizabeth River head-of-tide sampling site (and in the downstream tidal Elizabeth River) show elevated levels for contaminants compared to other locations in the harbor. An additional NJTRWP Phase II study was conducted in July/August 2003 in an effort to determine if either of the two minor tributaries to the Elizabeth River above the head-of-tide was the major source of these contaminants. During dry weather/low river flow conditions, the concentrations and loads of total PCBs and total PCDD/Fs (including total TEQ) in suspended sediment originating in the West Branch tributary were considerably larger than those from the Main Branch. Based on this limited NJTRWP Phase II study, it was preliminarily concluded that the West Branch of the Elizabeth River contributes the largest proportion of suspended-sediment bound PCBs and PCDD/Fs (and TEQ) to the river at its head-of-tide. In addition, the data suggest that there may be additional sources of PCDD/Fs (as well as Hg and Pb) between the confluence of these two tributaries and the head-of-tide.

Strategy and Approach

  1. Collect suspended sediment samples during one (1) dry weather/low river flow and one (1) wet weather/high river flow condition event from each of the Main Branch and West Branch tributaries (a total of four samples). The samples will be collected and analyzed (for PCDD/Fs and PCBs) using NJTRWP Phase I and II standard operating procedures (SOPs) and quality assurance (QA) procedures.
  2. Analytical Methods: PCBs USEPA Method 1668a, PCDD/Fs USEPA Method 1613b.
  3. Data Analysis: Concentrations and loads of PCBs and PCDD/S will be calculated and compared for the dry weather/low river flow and wet weather/high river flow samples.
  4. In coordination with the NJDEP Site Remediation Program, conduct a detailed search of NJDEP files to identify potential sources of contamination to the tributary determined to be the major source of these contaminants to the Elizabeth River at its head-of-tide.
  5. Optional/Future: additional sampling to trackdown and confirm the source(s) potentially identified as a result of Task #2.

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Page Last Modified: Monday, 14-Jan-2013 11:09:28 EST