Monitoring ecological recovery in a stream impacted by contaminated groundwater

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Past in-ground disposal practices in Bear Creek Valley resulted in contamination of Bear Creek and consequent ecological damage. A biological monitoring program initiated in 1984 has evaluated the effectiveness of the extensive remedial actions undertaken to address contamination sources. Elements of the monitoring program included toxicity testing with fish and invertebrates, bioaccumulation monitoring, and instream monitoring of streambed invertebrate and fish communities. In the mid 1980`s, toxicity tests on stream water indicated that the headwaters of the stream were acutely toxic to fish and aquatic invertebrates as a result of infiltration of a metal-enriched groundwater from ponds used to dispose ... continued below

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13 p.

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Southworth, G.R.; Cada, G.F.; Kszos, L.A.; Peterson, M.J. & Smith, J.G. November 1, 1997.

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Past in-ground disposal practices in Bear Creek Valley resulted in contamination of Bear Creek and consequent ecological damage. A biological monitoring program initiated in 1984 has evaluated the effectiveness of the extensive remedial actions undertaken to address contamination sources. Elements of the monitoring program included toxicity testing with fish and invertebrates, bioaccumulation monitoring, and instream monitoring of streambed invertebrate and fish communities. In the mid 1980`s, toxicity tests on stream water indicated that the headwaters of the stream were acutely toxic to fish and aquatic invertebrates as a result of infiltration of a metal-enriched groundwater from ponds used to dispose of acid wastes. Over a twelve year period, measurable toxicity in the headwaters decreased, first becoming non-toxic to larval fish but still toxic to invertebrates, then becoming intermittently toxic to invertebrates. By 1997, episodic toxicity was infrequent at the site that was acutely toxic at the start of the study. Recovery in the fish community followed the pattern of the toxicity tests. Initially, resident fish populations were absent from reaches where toxicity was measured, but as toxicity to fish larvae disappeared, the sites in upper Bear Creek were colonized by fish. The Tennessee dace, an uncommon species receiving special protection by the State of Tennessee, became a numerically important part of the fish population throughout the upper half of the creek, making Bear Creek one of the most significant habitats for this species in the region. Although by 1990 fish populations were comparable to those of similar size reference streams, episodic toxicity in the headwaters coincided with a recruitment failure in 1996. Bioaccumulation monitoring indicated the presence of PCBs and mercury in predatory fish in Bear Creek, and whole forage fish contained elevated levels of cadmium, lead, lithium, nickel, mercury, and uranium.

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13 p.

Notes

OSTI as DE98001062

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  • 70. annual conference and exposition of the Water Environment Federation, Chicago, IL (United States), 18-22 Oct 1997

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  • Other: DE98001062
  • Report No.: ORNL/CP--94964
  • Report No.: CONF-971030--
  • Grant Number: AC05-84OR21400;AC05-96OR22464
  • Office of Scientific & Technical Information Report Number: 554204
  • Archival Resource Key: ark:/67531/metadc690939

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Reports, articles and other documents harvested from the Office of Scientific and Technical Information.

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  • November 1, 1997

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  • Aug. 14, 2015, 8:43 a.m.

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  • Jan. 19, 2016, 8:20 p.m.

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Southworth, G.R.; Cada, G.F.; Kszos, L.A.; Peterson, M.J. & Smith, J.G. Monitoring ecological recovery in a stream impacted by contaminated groundwater, article, November 1, 1997; Tennessee. (digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc690939/: accessed April 20, 2018), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, digital.library.unt.edu; crediting UNT Libraries Government Documents Department.