Water Resources Research Act Program

Details for Project ID 2019DC044B

Monitoring Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbons in the downstream tributaries of Anacostia River and Rock Creek watershed in DC

Institute: District of Columbia
Year Established: 2019 Start Date: 2019-02-28 End Date: 2020-02-27
Total Federal Funds: $10,000 Total Non-Federal Funds: Not available

Principal Investigators: Sania Rose

Abstract: Recent researches showed various way of onsite remediation of contaminated river sediments, however managing continuous sources of contaminated sediments in an urban river watershed is challenging. Anacostia River is one of the rivers that are highly contaminated with Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbons (PAHs), metals and polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) in the nation. The success of any onsite remediation action to manage elevated levels of PAHs in the Anacostia River sediment depends on the level of contamination of its tributaries. The objective of this research project is to monitor PAHs in the downstream tributaries of Anacostia River in DC, and to access the significance of PAH level in the sediment. PAHs occur naturally, but are mainly caused by anthropogenic activities and they have become persistent in the environment. These organic compounds are potentially carcinogenic and can bio accumulate through the food chains. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has listed 16 PAH compounds on their priority list. This project will identify tributaries with higher contribution of contaminated sediment. We will collect sediment samples for the downstream tributaries of the Anacostia River located in Washington, DC. Sediment samples will be extracted using EPA method 8270. The samples will be analyzed for PAHs using Gas Chromatography and Mass Spectrometry. The findings of this research project will inform the DC water agency and regulators in managing contaminated sediment in the Anacostia River