Woods Inlet is a flooded stream channel on the southern shore of Lake Worth along the western boundary of Air Force Plant 4 in Fort Worth, Texas, where elevated polychlorinated biphenyl (PCB) concentrations in sediment were detected in a previous study. In response, the U.S. Geological Survey, in cooperation with the U.S. Air Force, conducted a study in 2003 to map the extent of elevated PCB concentrations in Woods Inlet and to identify possible sources (or more specifically, source areas) of PCBs in the watershed of Woods Inlet. Three gravity cores (penetration to pre-reservoir sediment at three sites) and 17 box cores (surficial bottom sediment samples) were collected in Woods Inlet. Suspended sediment in stormwater runoff and streambed sediment were sampled in tributaries to Woods Inlet following storms. Assemblages of PCB congeners in surficial inlet sediments and suspended and streambed sediments were analyzed to indicate sources of PCBs in the inlet sediments on the basis of chemical signatures of PCBs. Woods Inlet receives runoff primarily from three tributaries: (1) Gruggs Park Creek, (2) the small unnamed creek that drains a Texas National Guard maintenance facility, called TNG Creek for this report, and (3) Meandering Road Creek. Twenty-seven of 209 possible PCB congeners were analyzed. The sum of the congeners was used as a measure of total PCB. The spatial distribution of total PCB concentrations in the inlet indicates that most PCBs are originating in the Meandering Road Creek watershed. Peak total PCB concentrations in the three gravity cores occurred at depths corresponding to sediment deposition dates of about 1960 for two of the cores and about 1980 for the third core. The magnitudes of peak total PCB concentrations in the gravity cores followed a spatial distribution generally similar to that of surficial bottom sediment concentrations. Total PCB concentrations in suspended and streambed sediment varied greatly between sites and indicated a likely source of PCBs associated with a sampling site that receives runoff from Air Force Plant 4. Three approaches to the analyses of congener assemblages indicate that PCBs in surficial bottom sediment of Woods Inlet primarily enter Lake Worth from Meandering Road Creek and that runoff from Air Force Plant 4 is a source of the PCBs in Meandering Road Creek. Although current (2003) transport of PCBs from Air Force Plant 4 to the creek is occurring, large decreases in PCB concentrations with decreasing age in two cores indicate that PCB loading to the inlet has decreased greatly since the 1960s. Because runoff entering Meandering Road Creek from some parts of Air Force Plant 4 was not measured or sampled in this study, it cannot be said with certainty that the Air Force Plant 4 site sampled is the only source of PCBs to Meandering Road Creek.
Additional publication details
USGS Numbered Series
Distribution and sources of polychlorinated biphenyls in Woods Inlet, Lake Worth, Fort Worth, Texas, 2003