Source, Transport, and Fate of Groundwater Contamination at Site 45, Marine Corps Recruit Depot, Parris Island, South Carolina

Scientific Investigations Report 2009-5161

Prepared in cooperation with the Naval Facilities Engineering Command Southeast
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Groundwater contamination by tetrachloroethene and its dechlorination products is present in two partially intermingled plumes in the surficial aquifer near a former dry-cleaning facility at Site 45, Marine Corps Recruit Depot, Parris Island, South Carolina. The northern plume originates from the vicinity of former above-ground storage tanks. Free-phase tetrachloroethene from activities in this area entered the groundwater and the storm sewer. The southern plume originates at a nearby new dry-cleaning facility, but probably was the result of contamination released to the aquifer from a leaking sanitary sewer line from the former dry-cleaning facility. Discharge of dissolved groundwater contamination is primarily to leaking storm sewers below the water table. Extensive biodegradation of the contamination takes place in the surficial aquifer; however, the biodegradation is insufficient to reduce trichloroethene to less than milligram-per-liter concentrations prior to discharging into the storm sewers. The groundwater volatile organic compounds entering the storm sewers are substantially diluted by tidal flushing upon entry and are subject to volatilization as they are transported through the storm sewer to a discharge point in a tributary to Ballast Creek. TCE concentrations of about 2-6 micrograms per liter were present in storm-sewer water near the discharge point (sampled at manhole STS26). On three out of four sampling events at manhole STS14, the storm-sewer water contained no vinyl chloride. During a time of relatively high groundwater levels, however, 20 micrograms per liter of vinyl chloride was present in STS14 storm-sewer water. Because groundwater leaks into that storm sewer and because the storm sewer upgradient from manhole STS14 is adjacent to part of the aquifer where 2,290 micrograms per liter of vinyl chloride have been detected, there is a potential for substantially increased concentrations of vinyl chloride to discharge at the storm-sewer outfall under conditions of high groundwater levels and low tidal flushing. In addition, the observation that free-phase tetrachloroethene may have entered the storm-sewer system during the 1994 discharge means that dense nonaqueous phase liquid tetrachloroethene could have leaked from various parts of the storm sewer or discharged to surface water at the storm-sewer outfall.

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Additional publication details

Publication type:
Publication Subtype:
USGS Numbered Series
Source, Transport, and Fate of Groundwater Contamination at Site 45, Marine Corps Recruit Depot, Parris Island, South Carolina
Series title:
Scientific Investigations Report
Series number:
Year Published:
U.S. Geological Survey
Contributing office(s):
South Atlantic Water Science Center
viii, 80 p.
United States
South Carolina
Other Geospatial:
Marine Corp Recruit Depot, Parris Island