This study is an evaluation of the potential environmental impacts of contaminated groundwater from the ASARCO metals refining facility adjacent to the Missouri River in Omaha, Nebraska. Surface waters, sediments, and sediment pore waters were collected from the Burt-Izard drain, which transects the facility, and from the Missouri River adjacent to the facility. Groundwater was also collected from the facility. Waters and sediments were analyzed for inorganic contaminants, and the toxicity of the waters was evaluated with the Ceriodaphnia dubia 7-day test. Concentrations of several elemental contaminants were highly elevated in the groundwater, but not in river sediment pore waters. Lead concentrations were moderately elevated in whole sediment at one site, but lead concentrations in pore waters were low due to apparent sequestration by acid-volatile sulfides. The groundwater sample was highly toxic to C. dubia, causing 100% mortality. Even at the lowest groundwater concentration tested (6.25%) C. dubia survival was reduced; however, at that concentration, reproduction was not significantly different from upstream porewater reference samples. Sediment pore waters were not toxic, except reproduction in pore water collected from one downstream site was somewhat reduced. The decrease in reproduction could not be attributed to measured elemental contaminants.
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Federal Government Series
Toxicity and bioavailability of metals in the Missouri River adjacent to a lead refinery