Samples of surface water and suspended sediment were collected from the Passaic and Elizabeth Rivers and their tributaries in New Jersey from July 2003 to February 2004 to determine the concentrations of selected chlorinated organic and inorganic constituents. This sampling and analysis was conducted as Phase II of the New York-New Jersey Harbor Estuary Workplan?Contaminant Assessment and Reduction Program (CARP), which is overseen by the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection. Phase II of the New Jersey Workplan was conducted to define upstream tributary and point sources of contaminants in those rivers sampled during Phase I work, with special emphasis on the Passaic and Elizabeth Rivers. Samples were collected from three groups of tributaries: (1) the Second, Third, and Saddle Rivers; (2) the Pompton and upper Passaic Rivers; and (3) the West Branch and main stem of the Elizabeth River. The Second, Third, and Saddle Rivers were sampled near their confluence with the tidal Passaic River, but at locations not affected by tidal flooding. The Pompton and upper Passaic Rivers were sampled immediately upstream from their confluence at Two Bridges, N.J. The West Branch and the main stem of the Elizabeth River were sampled just upstream from their confluence at Hillside, N.J. All tributaries were sampled during low-flow discharge conditions using the protocols and analytical methods for organic constituents used in low-flow sampling in Phase I. Grab samples of streamflow also were collected at each site and were analyzed for trace elements (mercury, methylmercury, cadmium, and lead) and for suspended sediment, particulate organic carbon, and dissolved organic carbon. The measured concentrations and available historical suspended-sediment and stream-discharge data (where available) were used to estimate average annual loads of suspended sediment and organic compounds in these rivers.
Total suspended-sediment loads for 1975?2000 were estimated using rating curves developed from historical U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) suspended-sediment and discharge data, where available. Average annual loads of suspended sediment, in millions of kilograms per year (Mkg/yr), were estimated to be 0.190 for the Second River, 0.23 for the Third River, 1.00 for the Saddle River, 1.76 for the Pompton River, and 7.40 for the upper Passaic River.
On the basis of the available discharge records, the upper Passaic River was estimated to provide approximately 60 percent of the water and 80 percent of the total suspended-sediment load at the Passaic River head-of-tide, whereas the Pompton River provided roughly 20 percent of the total suspended-sediment load estimated at the head-of-tide. The combined suspended-sediment loads of the upper Passaic and Pompton Rivers (9.2 Mkg/yr), however, represent only 40 percent of the average annual suspended-sediment load estimated for the head-of-tide (23 Mkg/yr) at Little Falls, N.J. The difference between the combined suspended-sediment loads of the tributaries and the estimated load at Little Falls represents either sediment trapped upriver from the dam at Little Falls, additional inputs of suspended sediment downstream from the tributary confluence, or uncertainty in the suspended-sediment and discharge data that were used.
The concentrations of total suspended sediment-bound polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) in the tributaries to the Passaic River were 194 ng/g (nanograms per gram) in the Second River, 575 ng/g in the Third River, 2,320 ng/g in the Saddle River, 200 ng/g in the Pompton River, and 87 ng/g in the upper Passic River. The dissolved PCB concentrations in the tributaries were 563 pg/L (picograms per liter) in the Second River, 2,510 pg/L in the Third River, 2,270 pg/L in the Saddle River, 887 pg/L in the Pompton River, and 1,000 pg/L in the upper Passaic River. Combined with the sediment loads and discharge, these concentrations resulted in annual loads of suspended sediment-bound PCBs, i