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Environmental impact of ongoing sources of metal contamination on remediated sediments

Knox, Anna Sophia, Paller, Michael H., Milliken, Charles E., Redder, Todd M., Wolfe, John R., Seaman, John
The Science of the total environment 2016 v.563-564 pp. 108-117
Lumbriculus variegatus, activated carbon, apatite, arsenic, bioavailability, cadmium, chelating agents, chromium, cobalt, copper, environmental impact, lead, nickel, remediation, sand, sediment contamination, selenium, surface water, zinc
A challenge to all remedial approaches for contaminated sediments is the continued influx of contaminants from uncontrolled sources following remediation. We investigated the effects of ongoing contamination in mesocosms employing sediments remediated by different types of active and passive caps and in-situ treatment. Our hypothesis was that the sequestering agents used in active caps and in situ treatment will bind elements (arsenic, chromium, cadmium, cobalt, copper, nickel, lead, selenium, and zinc) from ongoing sources thereby reducing their bioavailability and protecting underlying remediated sediments from recontamination. Most element concentrations in surface water remained significantly lower in mesocosms with apatite and mixed amendment caps than in mesocosms with passive caps (sand), uncapped sediment, and spike solution throughout the 2520h experiment. Element concentrations were significantly higher in Lumbriculus variegatus from untreated sediment than in Lumbriculus from most active caps. Pearson correlations between element concentrations in Lumbriculus and metal concentrations in the top 2.5cm of sediment or cap measured by diffusive gradient in thin films (DGT) sediment probes were generally strong (as high as 0.98) and significant (p<0.05) for almost all tested elements. Metal concentrations in both Lumbriculus and sediment/cap were lowest in apatite, mixed amendment, and activated carbon treatments. These findings show that some active caps can protect remediated sediments by reducing the bioavailable pool of metals/metalloids in ongoing sources of contamination.