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Demonstration and validation of enhanced monitored natural recovery at a pesticide-contaminated sediment site

Fetters, Kyle, Rosen, Gunther, Kirtay, Victoria, Chadwick, Bart, Conder, Jason, Sacks, Victoria Paris, Grover, Melissa, Magar, Victor
Journal of soils and sediments 2020 v.20 no.1 pp. 204-219
DDT (pesticide), Lumbriculus variegatus, advection, adverse effects, benthic organisms, bioavailability, community health, habitats, invertebrates, mass transfer, mixing, sand, sediment deposition
PURPOSE: Monitored natural recovery (MNR) combined with a thin-layer cap (TLC), often referred to as enhanced monitored natural recovery (EMNR), has the potential to accelerate and improve the effectiveness of MNR as a remedial strategy while minimizing widespread disturbance to the existing habitat. This study evaluated the effectiveness of a nominal 15-cm thin-layer sand cap as an EMNR remedial strategy to address sediments that were moderately contaminated with the chlorinated pesticide dichlorodiphenyltrichloroethane and its derivatives, collectively DDX. MATERIALS AND METHODS: Physical, chemical, and biological measurements were conducted pre-remedy placement and 2, 14, and 25 months post-placement. Measurements were used to evaluate (1) TLC stability; (2) bottom-up mixing of the TLC; (3) advection through the TLC; (4) characteristics of newly deposited sediment atop the EMNR layer compared to pre-remedy surface sediment conditions; (5) changes in contaminant bioavailability; and (6) physical impacts to the benthic community. RESULTS AND DISCUSSION: Significant reductions were observed from measurements conducted pre- and post-placement in surface sediment (84–97%), porewater (33–75%), and tissue concentrations (Lumbriculus variegatus deployed in situ) (72–82%). A 63 to 72% decrease in DDX depositional mass flux also was observed. Multiple lines of evidence indicated that the TLC material remained stable. Deposition of suspended material with low concentrations of DDX influenced low concentrations in the surface sediments. No adverse effects were observed on the benthic invertebrate community after TLC placement, and ecological metrics indicated increases in benthic community health, even in the short time period (2 months) following TLC placement. CONCLUSIONS: This demonstration showed that EMNR can be effective at reducing biological exposure in surface sediments while minimizing short-term disturbances to benthic communities at sites where MNR is a remedy option, but natural deposition rates are inadequate to achieve cleanup goals within a reasonable timeframe.