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PM09 Sediment Quality Assessment Cases
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(PM143) Trace Metal Contamination in Hackensack River, Passaic River, and Upper Newark Bay Sediments (PART 1 OF 5).

Martello, L1, Wenning, R1, Von Burg, A1, Pekala, J1, Leitman, P2, Sorensen, M2, 1 ENVIRON International Corporation, Emeryville, CA, USA2 ENVIRON International Corporation, Atlanta, GA, USA

ABSTRACT- This is the first of five papers describing the results of an investigation of the levels and risks posed by chemicals in sediments in the lower Hackensack River. Trace metals and other chemicals were measured in at least 47 surficial and 23 deep sediment samples collected from four locations in the Newark Bay, NJ estuary: (1) in the lower Hackensack River (HR), (2) in the lower Passaic River, (3) in Newark Bay near the Port of NY/NJ and, (4) north of the Pulaski Skyway Bridge in the Hackensack River. Sediments were analyzed for 23 trace metals, including As, Cd, Cr, Cu, Hg, Ni, Pb, Zn, and acid volatile sulfides (AVS) and simultaneously extracted metals (SEM). Results were compared to historical data available from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's Storet Database, New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection sediment quality benchmarks, and used in an ecological risk assessment to evaluate the potential for adverse effects to aquatic biota. In general, metals with the highest concentrations in surficial sediments included As, Cr, Pb, Hg, and Zn. However, AVS/SEM results suggest that some of these metals are not likely to be biologically available (e.g., As, Cd, Pb, and Zn) or are not present in their more toxic form (e.g., hexavalent Cr). The results of the comparative analysis of sediment toxicity testing, bioaccumulation testing, and infaunal surveys conducted at each of the four locations in the estuary indicated comparable toxicity and diminished infaunal conditions. HR sediments appear no more toxic to benthic organisms than sediments from the other three locations in the estuary. Bioaccumulation test results indicated that some metals, particularly Cr, were not biologically available.

Key words: Hackensack River, Metals, Passaic River, Sediment


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