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Open-File Report 2011–1145

Prepared in cooperation with the U.S. Department of the Army Environmental and Natural Resources Management Office of the U.S. Army Signal Center and Fort Gordon

Assessment of Soil-Gas, Soil, and Water Contamination at the Former 19th Street Landfill, Fort Gordon, Georgia, 2009–2010

By W. Fred Falls, Andral W. Caldwell, Wladmir B. Guimaraes, W. Hagan Ratliff, John B. Wellborn, and James E. Landmeyer

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Soil gas, soil, and water were assessed for organic and inorganic constituents at the former 19th Street landfill at Fort Gordon, Georgia, from February to September 2010. Passive soil-gas samplers were analyzed to evaluate organic constituents in the hyporheic zone and flood plain of a creek and soil gas within the estimated boundaries of the former landfill. Soil and water samples were analyzed to evaluate inorganic constituents in soil samples, and organic and inorganic constituents in the surface water of a creek adjacent to the landfill, respectively. This assessment was conducted to provide environmental constituent data to Fort Gordon pursuant to requirements of the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act Part B Hazardous Waste Permit process.

The passive soil-gas samplers deployed in the water-saturated hyporheic zone and flood plain of the creek adjacent to the former landfill indicated the presence of total petroleum hydrocarbon (TPH) and octane above method detection levels in groundwater beneath the creek bed and flood plain at all 12 soil-gas sampler locations. The TPH concentrations ranged from 51.4 to 81.4 micrograms per liter. Octane concentrations ranged from 1.78 to 2.63 micrograms per liter. These detections do not clearly identify specific source areas in the former landfill; moreover, detections of TPH and octane in a soil-gas sampler installed at a seep on the western bank of the creek indicated the potential for these constituents to be derived from source areas outside the estimated boundaries of the former landfill.

A passive soil-gas sampler survey was conducted in the former landfill from June 30 to July 5, 2010, and involved 56 soil-gas samplers that were analyzed for petroleum and halogenated compounds not classified as chemical agents or explosives. The TPH soil-gas mass exceeded 2.0 micrograms in 21 samplers. Most noticeable are the two sites with TPH detections which are located in and near the hyporheic zone and are likely to affect the creek. However, most TPH detections were located in and immediately adjacent to a debris field located within the former landfill and in areas where debris was not visible, including the northwestern and southeastern parts of the study area. Two of the four soil-gas samplers installed within a former military training area adjacent to the landfill also had TPH detections above the method detection level. Benzene, toluene, ethylbenzene, and xylene (as combined BTEX mass) were detected at 0.02 microgram or greater in three soil-gas samplers installed at the northwestern boundary and in five samplers installed in the southeastern part of the study area. There was no BTEX mass detected above the method detection level in samplers installed in the debris field. Toluene was the most frequently detected BTEX compound. Compounds indicative of diesel-range organics were detected above 0.04 microgram in 12 soil-gas samplers and had a distribution similar to that of TPH, including being detected in the debris field. Undecane was the most frequently detected diesel compound. Chloroform and naphthalene were detected in eight and two soil-gas samplers, respectively. Five soil-gas samplers deployed during September 2010 were analyzed for organic compounds classified as chemical agents and explosives, but none exceeded the method detection levels.

Five composite soil samples collected from within the estimated boundaries of the former landfill were analyzed for 35 inorganic constituents, but none of the constituents detected exceeded regional screening levels for industrial soils. The sample collected in the debris field exceeded background levels for aluminum, barium, calcium, chromium, lead, nickel, potassium, sodium, and zinc.

Three surface-water samples were collected in September 2010 from a stormwater outfall culvert that drains to the creek and from the open channel of the creek at upstream and downstream locations relative to the outfall. Toluene was detected at 0.661 microgram per liter in a sample collected from the outfall. Iron ranged from 532 to 549 micrograms per liter in all three samples and was the only inorganic constituent to exceed its National Secondary Drinking Water Standard of 300 micrograms per liter.

First posted August 23, 2011

For additional information contact:
USGS South Carolina Water Science Center
Stephenson Center, Suite 129
720 Gracern Rd.
Columbia, SC  29210-7651
Phone: 803-750-6100

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Suggested citation:

Falls, W.F., Caldwell, A.W., Guimaraes, W.B., Ratliff, W.H., Wellborn, J.B., and Landmeyer, J.E., 2011, Assessment of soil-gas, soil, and water contamination at the former 19th Street landfill, Fort Gordon, Georgia, 2009–2010: U.S. Geological Survey Open-File Report 2011–1145, 35 p.




Purpose and Scope

Description of the Study Area


Hyporheic-Zone, Flood-Plain, and Soil-Gas Samplers

Soil Samples

Surface-Water Samples


Hyporheic-Zone and Flood-Plain Samplers

Soil-Gas Samplers: June 30–July 6, 2010

Soil-Gas Samplers: September 15–22, 2010

Soil Samples

Surface-Water Samples


References Cited

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