Date of Award

Spring 2012

Degree Name

Bachelor of Science

Major

Environmental Science

First Advisor

Jon Gourley

Abstract

The Trout Brook, a major tributary of the Park River watershed, was sampled for heavy metals in sediment with a focus on Pb, Cu, Cd, and Zn. These metals are known to be contaminating the river due to a history of discharge from metal finishing industries. In a watershed-wide survey conducted in September 2011, high concentrations of metals were found in the Trout Brook, with some sites exceeding the probable effect concentration (PEC). The Trout Brook contains a Sanitary Sewer Overflow (SSO) and a vegetated medial bar that may be trapping sediment. Based on the results of the earlier studies, this site was chosen for an in depth analysis. In 2010, a detailed sediment study was performed at the landfill site, located on the north bank of the Trout Brook further downstream from the SSO site, which contained a landfill point source and a sand bar. It was unclear what lead to the high heavy metals values: the SSO or the effects of sediment transport around the bar. The Trout Brook SSO site provides the opportunity for a more detailed analysis of the relationship between a potential point source and a vegetated bar and resulting sediment contamination. The purpose of the study was to determine the degree to which the SSO and the medial bar affect the distribution of heavy metals. Forty-nine samples were taken on the north and south banks of the Trout Brook SSO site and on either side of the vegetated bar. Five sediment cores were taken from the bar to determine if trace metals are accumulated within the river’s older deposits. Trace metals in sediments were analyzed using a weak-acid digestion method and an Inductively Coupled Plasma-OES (ICP-OES). Highest concentrations of metals were found at the SSO and therefore it is concluded that the SSO acts as the main source of heavy metal contamination, and that the medial bar has no effect on the distribution of metals in sediment.

Comments

Senior thesis completed at Trinity College for the degree of Bachelor of Science in Environmental Science.