Open-File Report 2011–1267
The U.S. Geological Survey, 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, Georgia, assessed the hyporheic zone, flood plain, soil gas, soil, and surface water for contaminants at the McCoys Creek Chemical Training Area (MCTA) at Fort Gordon, from October 2009 to September 2010. The assessment included the detection of organic contaminants in the hyporheic zone, flood plain, soil gas, and surface water. In addition, the organic contaminant assessment included the analysis of organic compounds classified as explosives and chemical agents in selected areas. Inorganic contaminants were assessed in soil and surface-water samples. The assessment was conducted to provide environmental contamination data to the U.S. Army at Fort Gordon pursuant to requirements of the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act Part B Hazardous Waste Permit process.
Ten passive samplers were deployed in the hyporheic zone and flood plain, and total petroleum hydrocarbons (TPH) and octane were detected above the method detection level in every sampler. Other organic compounds detected above the method detection level in the hyporheic zone and flood-plain samplers were trichloroethylene, and cis- and trans- 1, 2-dichloroethylene. One trip blank detected TPH below the method detection level but above the nondetection level. The concentrations of TPH in the samplers were many times greater than the concentrations detected in the blank; therefore, all other TPH concentrations detected are considered to represent environmental conditions.
Seventy-one soil-gas samplers were deployed in a grid pattern across the MCTA. Three trip blanks and three method blanks were used and not deployed, and TPH was detected above the method detection level in two trip blanks and one method blank. Detection of TPH was observed at all 71 samplers, but because TPH was detected in the trip and method blanks, TPH was censored and, therefore, only 7 of the 71 samplers were reported as detecting TPH. In addition, benzene, toluene, ethylbenzene, and total xylene were detected above the method detection level in 22 samplers. Other compounds detected above the method detection level included naphthalene, octane, undecane, tridecane, 1,2,4-trimethylbenzene, trichloroethylene, perchloroethylene, chloroform, and 1,4-dichlorobenzene.
Subsequent to the soil-gas survey, five locations with elevated contaminant mass were selected and a passive sampler was deployed at those locations to detect the presence of organic compounds classified as explosives or chemical agents. No explosives or chemical agents were detected above the method detection level, but some compounds were detected below the method detection level but above the nondetection level. Dimethyl disulfide, benzothiazole, chloroacetophenones, and para-chlorophenyl methyl sulfide were all detected below the method detection level but above the nondetection level. The compounds 2,4-dinitrotoluene, and para-chlorophenyl methyl sulfone were detected in samplers but also were detected in trip blanks and are not considered as present in the MCTA.
The same five locations that were selected for sampling of explosives and chemical agents were selected for soil sampling. Metal concentrations in composite soil samples collected at five locations from land surface to a depth of 6 inches did not exceed the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Regional Screening Levels for Industrial Soil. Concentrations in some compounds were higher than the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control background levels for nearby South Carolina, including aluminum, arsenic, barium, beryllium, chromium, copper, iron, lead, manganese, nickel, and potassium.
A surface-water sample was collected from McCoys Creek and analyzed for volatile organic compounds, semivolatile organic compounds, and inorganic compounds (metals). No volatile organic compounds and (or) semivolatile organic compounds were detected at levels above the maximum contaminant level of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (USEPA) National Primary Drinking Water Standard, and no inorganic compounds exceeded the maximum contaminant level of the USEPA National Primary Drinking Water Standard or the Georgia In-Stream Water-Quality Standard. Iron was the only inorganic compound detected in the surface-water sample (578 micrograms per liter) that exceeded the USEPA National Secondary Drinking Water Standard of 300 micrograms per liter.
First posted October 24, 2011
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Guimaraes, W.B, Falls, W.F., Caldwell, A.W., Ratliff, W.H., Wellborn, J.B., and Landmeyer, J.E., 2011, Assessment of hyporheic zone, flood-plain, soil-gas, soil, and surface-water contamination at the McCoys Creek Chemical Training Area, Fort Gordon, Georgia, 2009–2010: U.S. Geological Survey Open-File Report 2011–1267, 48 p., available online at https://pubs.usgs.gov/of/2011/1267/.
Purpose and Scope
Description of the Study Area
Passive Hyporheic Zone and Flood-Plain Survey
Passive Soil-Gas Survey
Explosives and Chemical Agents