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Mar Environ Res. 2007 Dec;64(5):541-55. Epub 2007 May 10.

Field methods for amending marine sediment with activated carbon and assessing treatment effectiveness.

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Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, Stanford University, Stanford, CA 94305, USA.


Previous laboratory studies have shown reductions in PCB bioavailability for sediments amended with activated carbon (AC). Here we report results on a preliminary pilot-scale study to assess challenges in scaling-up for field deployment and monitoring. The goals of the preliminary pilot-scale study at Hunters Point Shipyard (San Francisco, USA) were to (1) test the capabilities of a large-scale mixing device for incorporating AC into sediment, (2) develop and evaluate our field assessment techniques, and (3) compare reductions in PCB bioavailability found in the laboratory with well-mixed systems to those observed in the field with one-time-mixed systems. In this study we successfully used a large-scale device to mix 500kg of AC into a 34.4m(2) plot to a depth of 1ft, a depth that includes the majority of the biologically active zone. Our results indicate that after 7 months of AC-sediment contact in the field, the 28-day PCB bioaccumulation for the bent-nosed clam, Macoma nasuta, field-deployed to this AC-amended sediment was approximately half of the bioaccumulation resulting from exposure to untreated sediment. Similar PCB bioaccumulation reductions were found in laboratory bioassays conducted on both the bivalve, M. nasuta and the estuarine amphipod, Leptocheirus plumulosus, using sediment collected from the treated and untreated field plots one year after the AC amendment occurred. To further understand the long-term effectiveness of AC as an in situ treatment strategy for PCB-contaminated sediments under field conditions, a 3-year comprehensive study is currently underway at Hunters Point that will compare the effectiveness of two large-scale mixing devices and include both unmixed and mixed-only control plots.

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