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DISTRIBUTION OF TRACE ELEMENTS AND CS-137 IN SEDIMENTS OF A COASTAL PLAIN STREAM IMPACTED BY INDUSTRIAL ACTIVITIES

A previous study revealed average concentrations of eight elements to be elevated above Ecological Screen Values (ESV) in a beaver pond on McQueen Branch (MQB), a coastal plain stream located on the U.S. Department of Energy’s Savannah River Site. Here, we compare this beaver pond to ponds in two less disturbed systems and assessed potential upstream MQB source areas. Concentrations of 16 trace elements and Cs-137 were analyzed in 44 composite sediment samples. Concentrations tended to be higher in the MQB sites. Within MQB, concentrations of up to 10 elements exceeded their ESV in sediments in or near sedimentation basins at the heads of two tributaries above the previously studied beaver pond. Concentrations of many elements were positively correlated to organic matter and clay content. Consequently, concentrations were lower in stream reaches that were severely scoured by excessive stormwater runoff. Concentrations tended to attenuate downstream of the headwater basins, but again accumulated in the slower waters of the beaver pond. Sedimentation basins and beaver ponds play an integral role in the storage and subsequent redistribution of contaminants in these streams.

Brooke Lindell (Primary Presenter/Author), College of Charleston/Savannah River Ecology Laboratory, lindellbe@g.cofc.edu;


J.C. Seaman ( Co-Presenter/Co-Author), Savannah River Ecology Laboratory-University of Georgia, seaman@srel.uga.edu;


J.V. McArthur ( Co-Presenter/Co-Author), Savannah River Ecology Laboratory-University of Georgia, mcarthur@srel.uga.edu;


D.E. Fletcher ( Co-Presenter/Co-Author), Savannah River Ecology Laboratory-University of Georgia, fletcher@srel.uga.edu;