Technical Integrity / Collaboration / Exceptional Results

Berry’s Creek Study Area Superfund Site

OPTICS fieldwork

The Berry’s Creek Study Area is a side embayment of the Hackensack River estuary with sediment that has been impacted by historical industrial and municipal discharges. OPTICS instrumentation was deployed to provide long-term (up to 2 months), continuous estimates of mercury, methylmercury, and polychlorinated biphenyl concentrations in surface water. Multiple studies demonstrated that marsh-derived organic matter settles to the waterway sediment bed during slack tides to form a thin layer (~5 mm) of low-density material to which chemical contaminants can sorb. The OPTICS monitoring provided observations of sediment resuspension during peak tidal and storm flows and transport of particulate-bound contaminants to the water column. OPTICS analysis also showed a consistent net flux of contaminants from the waterways into the marshes during tidal flooding. This information was essential to the conceptual site model and is a critical consideration in the evaluation of remedial alternatives for the site.

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