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Final Report - December 1991

prepared for
United States Environmental Protection Agency
Great Lakes National Program Office
Marc L. Tuchman, Project Officer
77 West Jackson Blvd.
Chicago, IL 60604

prepared by
Stewart W. Taylor
Great Lakes Program
Department of Civil Engineering
207 Jarvis Hall
State University of New York at Buffalo
Buffalo, New York 14260

 

Pollutant Loadings to the Buffalo River Area of Concern from Inactive Hazardous Waste Sites

US Environmental Protection Agency. May 1994. Abstract and Table of Contents for "Pollutant Loadings to the Buffalo River Area of Concern from Inactive Hazardous Waste Sites," EPA 905-R94-006. Chicago, Ill.: Great Lakes National Program Office.

ABSTRACT

An analysis is presented which identifies inactive hazardous wastes sites contributing one or more targeted pollutants (PCBs, pesticides, PAHs, metals) to the Buffalo River Area of Concern via groundwater flows and estimates the associated pollutant loadings. Based on a review of existing data, six sites are identified which likely contribute pollution to the Buffalo River: Allied Chemical, Buffalo Color, Lehigh Valley Railroad, MacNaughton-Brooks, Madison Wire, and West Seneca Transfer Station. Other sites are identified (Tifft Farm Nature Preserve and Houghton Park) which might potentially be contributing pollutants to the Buffalo River, but data are not sufficient to allow estimation of loadings from these sites.

The principal targeted pollutants present at the identified sites include copper, iron, lead, and PAHs. While PCBs are present at low levels in the soils at three sites and the pesticide chlordane present at a low level at one site, these chemicals were not detected in the groundwater. Available data suggests that PCB and pesticide pollution of the Buffalo River via the groundwater pathway does not appear to be significant; therefore, loadings for these chemicals are not evaluated. It is also noted that several of the identified sites likely contributing significant quantities of non-targeted volatile and semi-volatile organic and metal pollutants to the Buffalo River in addition to those targeted in the present study.

Pollutant loadings to the Buffalo River are estimated using mathematical models for contaminant transport by groundwater. An analytical model is applied at the Allied Chemical, Lehigh Valley Railroad, MacNaughton-Brooks, Madison Wire and West Seneca Transfer Station. sites, while a numerical model is applied at the Buffalo Color site. These models are parameterized using published data and literature values. Computed metal loadings for individual sites range as follows: copper, 0 to 78.6 kg/yr; iron, 0 to 1,620 kg/yr; and lead, 0 to 2.09 kg/yr. Computed PAHs loadings are as follows: benzo(a)anthracene, 0.223 kg/yr; benzo(b)fluoranthene, 0.0709 kg/yr; benzo(k)fluoranthene, 0.0081 kg/yr; benzo(a)pyrene, 0.0192 kg/yr; and chrysene, 0.0304 kg/yr. Decreasing the uncertainty associated with these loading estimates will require site specific field investigations.


Table Of Content 

Abstract

1. Introduction
1.1 Background
1.2 Objectives and Scope
1.3 Approach

2. Regional Geology and Hydrogeology

3. Site Identification

3.1 Inactive Hazardous Waste Sites in Buffalo River AOC
3.2 Inactive Hazardous Waste Sites With Targeted Contaminants
3.3 Inactive Hazardous Waste Sites Discharging to the Buffalo River
3.4 Inactive Hazardous Waste Sites and Non-Targeted Pollutants

4. Loading Estimate Methodology
4.1 Plane Dispersion Model
4.1.1 Governing Equation and Solution
4.1.2 Parameterization
4.2 Method of Characteristics Model
4.2.1 Governing Equation and Solution
4.2.2 Parameterization

5. Results
5.1 Allied Chemical, Lehigh Valley, MacNaughton-Brooks, Madison Wire, West Seneca
5.2 Buffalo Color

6. Discussion
6.1 Pollutant Loadings via Groundwater
6.2 Uncertainty Associated with Loading Estimates
6.3 Pollutant Loadings via Other Pathways

7. Summary and Recommendations


1. INTRODUCTION

1.1 Background

On May 1, 1990, the Great Lakes Program of the State University of New York at Buffalo and the Center for Environmental Research and Education at the State University College at Buffalo entered into a cooperative agreement with the Great Lakes National Program Office of the U. S. Environmental Protection Agency (USEPA) to provide field, laboratory and engineering support for the Buffalo River Mass Balance Project. The work scope of this project includes estimates of pollutant loadings to the Buffalo River Area of Concern (AOC) from industrial and municipal wastewater discharges, inactive hazardous waste sites, combined sewer outfalls, and upstream tributaries. This report summarizes the pollutant loadings to the Buffalo River AOC from inactive hazardous waste sites.

1.2 Objectives and Scope

Primary study objectives include: (1) identification of inactive hazardous waste sites which may be contributing one or more targeted pollutants to the Buffalo River AOC through groundwater flows; and (2) estimation of the groundwater pollutant loadings (dissolved phase) from the identified inactive hazardous waste sites to the Buffalo River AOC.

The scope of this study is limited to a list of pollutants targeted by the USEPA. The list includes a number of hydrophobic organic chemicals, including polychlorinated biphenlys (PCBs), 3 pesticides, and 5 polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs), and 3 metals. Specific chemicals and some of their properties are summarized in Table 1.1. Iron, a conventional parameter in this study, has been included in the list due to evidence of high groundwater concentrations. While many other organic and inorganic pollutants are present at some waste sites, and are contributing significantly to the pollution of the Buffalo River, loading estimates for these non-targeted pollutants are not within the present work scope.

Loading estimates are provided for dissolved phase pollutants only. Data at the Buffalo Color Corporation site suggest the presence of nonaqueous phase liquid (NAPL) contamination of the subsurface. Estimating the potential loadings to the Buffalo River from NAPL migration is beyond the scope of this investigation.

Note that the identification of inactive hazardous waste sites and pollutant loading estimates are based on data that were available in the form of Phase I, Phase II, Remedial Investigation and other studies prepared for the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (NYSDEC). The preliminary nature of this study precluded site-specific field work which might better characterize the hydrogeology and extent of off-site migration of the targeted pollutants for the various waste sites.

1.3 Approach

The approach taken in this study was to (1) identify inactive hazardous waste sites which likely contribute one or more of the targeted pollutants to the Buffalo River via the groundwater pathway, and (2) quantify the associated pollutant loadings (mass per unit time). Candidate sites were identified using existing soils and groundwater data. Pollutant loadings were estimated using groundwater pollutant transport models. The complexity of the groundwater modeling effort was commensurate with available data, i.e., numerical model studies were performed at sites where the hydrogeology is well-characterized, while simple engineering analyses were performed at sites where data are sparse.

 


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