Diffusion samplers were installed in the bottom of Johns Pond, Cape Cod, Massachusetts, to confirm that volatile organic compounds from the Storm Drain-5 (SD-5) plume emanating from the Massachusetts Military Reservation (MMR) were discharging into the pond. An array of 134 vapor-diffusion samplers was buried by divers about 0.5 feet below the pond bottom in the presumed discharge area of the SD-5 plume and left in place for about 2 weeks to equilibrate.
Two areas of high concentrations of volatile organic compounds (VOCs) were identified. Samples from the first area contained trichloroethene (TCE) and tetrachloroethene with concentrations in vapor as high as 890 and 667 parts per billion by volume, respectively. This discharge area is about 1,000 feet wide, extends from 100 to 350 feet offshore, and is interpreted to be the discharge area of the SD-5 plume. Samples from the second area were located closer to shore than the discharge area of the SD-5 plume and contained unexpectedly high vapor concentrations of TCE (more than 40,000 parts per billion by volume). Ground-water samples collected with a drive-point sampler near the second area had aqueous TCE concentrations as high as 1,100 micrograms per liter. Subsequently, a more closely spaced array of 110 vapor-diffusion samplers was installed to map the area of elevated TCE concentrations . The discharge area detected with the samplers is about 75 feet wide and extends from about 25 to 200 feet offshore . TCE vapor concentrations in this area were as high as 42,800 parts per billion by volume.
TCE concentrations in micrograms per liter in water-diffusion samples from 15 selected sites in the two discharge areas were about 35 times lower than the TCE concentrations in parts per billion by volume in corresponding vapor-diffusion samples. The difference in values is due to the volatile nature of TCE and the different units of measure. TCE was detected in diffusion samplers set in the pond water column above the plume discharge areas, but the TCE concentrations were 20 to 30 times lower than the corresponding levels in diffusion samplers buried in the pond bottom.
Additional publication details
USGS Numbered Series
Delineation of discharge areas of two contaminant plumes by use of diffusion samplers, Johns Pond, Cape Cod, Massachusetts, 1998
Water-Resources Investigations Report
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