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EFFECTS OF AN INDUSTRIAL BASIN OVERFLOW ON TRACE ELEMENT ACCUMULATION IN SEDIMENT AND BIOTA OF A COASTAL PLAIN STREAM

A sedimentation basin holding contaminated sediments overflowed for the first time following record rainfalls, potentially contaminating an adjacent stream. We evaluated 16 trace element concentrations in sediment, 7 dragonfly nymph genera, 1 crane fly larva genus, and 3 crayfish species collected downstream of the basin before and one year after the overflow event. Sediments from an upstream beaver pond were analyzed to assess potential upstream contaminant sources. Dragonfly community composition, size frequencies, and head width-weight relationships were compared between years. Organic matter, clay content, and most trace element concentrations increased between years in depositional zones. However, the organic matter-rich sediments of the upstream beaver pond contained substantially higher contaminant concentrations indicating upstream contaminant sources. Modest dragonfly community shifts were noted with a decrease of a more sensitive genus, Erpetogomphus. Relative body mass also decreased between years in Erpetogomphus. Genus- and element-specific patterns of accumulation occurred among study biota. Overall, increased concentrations between years were evident. Biota concentrations increased at lower rates than in sediment. This work illustrates the dynamic nature of stream systems and the value of watershed scale evaluations.

P.T. Stankus (Primary Presenter/Author), Savannah River Ecology Laboratory-University of Georgia, stankus@srel.uga.edu;


A.H. Lindell ( Co-Presenter/Co-Author), Savannah River Ecology Laboratory-University of Georgia, lindell@srel.uga.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;