Water Resources Research Act Program

Details for Project ID 2010DC117B

Comparing Clam Active Biomonitoring and POM Passive Monitoring for DC Watershed Contaminant Point Sources

Institute: District of Columbia
Year Established: 2010 Start Date: 2010-03-01 End Date: 2011-02-28
Total Federal Funds: $14,000 Total Non-Federal Funds: $45,094

Principal Investigators: Harriette Phelps

Abstract: The major contaminants in DC streams are PCBs, PAHs and Pesticides including Chlordane. This is a proposal to expand the ability to monitor their sources by verifying a new method of passive monitoring with polyoxymethylene strips (POM) through parallel studies with the current active biomonitoring method (ABM) that uses Corbicula clams. Both ABM and POM monitoring have the great advantage of being site-specific which can identify point sources of stream contaminants. ABM with Corbicula cannot be used in any DC streams due to National Park Service restrictions or when streams are below 50 deg. F. POM passive water monitoring for water contaminants could overcome these problems but has been little studied. This project would compare POM stream monitoring for PCB, PAH and Chlordane contamination through parallel studies with ABM at contaminated sites in Maryland, using the healthy Potomac as a reference. POM monitoring effectiveness would also be studied in cold weather. The POM strip monitoring will be carried out with the assistance of Dr. Upal Ghosh of the University of Maryland Baltimore Campus (UMBC) who joined in a preliminary 2009 parallel study (unpublished) that found POM monitoring for PCB congeners similar to ABM. The parallel study sites proposed here would include two in Lower Beaverdam Creek with high PCBs and PAHs and one in Riverdale East with high chlordane. This study would establish optimal POM strip deployment times and contaminant analytical variability for statistical comparison with ABM results. An ABM follow up study to find the source of chlordane contamination in Sligo Creek is included.