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Performance of an in situ activated carbon treatment to reduce PCB availability in an active harbor

Kirtay, Victoria, Conder, Jason, Rosen, Gunther, Magar, Victor, Grover, Melissa, Arblaster, Jennifer, Fetters, Kyle, Chadwick, Bart
Environmental toxicology and chemistry 2018 v.37 no.6 pp. 1767-1777
activated carbon, benthic organisms, hydrodynamics, hydrophobicity, invertebrates, monitoring, particle size, polychlorinated biphenyls, samplers, sediments, statistical analysis
In situ amendment of surface sediment with activated carbon is a promising technique for reducing the availability of hydrophobic organic compounds in surface sediment. The present study evaluated the performance of a logistically challenging activated carbon placement in a high‐energy hydrodynamic environment adjacent to and beneath a pier in an active military harbor. Measurements conducted preamendment and 10, 21, and 33 months (mo) postamendment using in situ exposures of benthic invertebrates and passive samplers indicated that the targeted 4% (by weight) addition of activated carbon (particle diameter ≤74 µm) in the uppermost 10 cm of surface sediment reduced polychlorinated biphenyl availability by an average (± standard deviation) of 81 ± 11% in the first 10 mo after amendment. The final monitoring event (33 mo after amendment) indicated an approximate 90 ± 6% reduction in availability, reflecting a slight increase in performance and showing the stability of the amendment. Benthic invertebrate census and sediment profile imagery did not indicate significant differences in benthic community ecological metrics among the preamendment and 3 postamendment monitoring events, supporting existing scientific literature that this approximate activated carbon dosage level does not significantly impair native benthic invertebrate communities. Recommendations for optimizing typical site‐specific assessments of activated carbon performance are also discussed and include quantifying reductions in availability and confirming placement of activated carbon. Environ Toxicol Chem 2018;37:1767–1777. Published 2018 Wiley Periodicals, Inc. on behalf of SETAC. This article is a US government work and, as such, is in the public domain in the United States of America.