Vapor-diffusion samplers were used in the autumn of 1997 to determine the lateral extent and distribution of concentrations of a trichloroethylene (TCE) plume in the ground-water discharge area near the McKin Superfund Site, Gray, Maine. Analyses of vapor in the samplers identified a plume about 800 feet wide entering the river near Boiling Springs, an area of ground-water discharge on the flood plain of the Royal River. The highest observed concentration of TCE in vapor was in an area of sand boils on the western bank of the river and about 200 feet downstream from Boiling Springs. Previous studies showed that most of the TCE load in the river originated in the area of the sand boils. In general, highest concentrations were observed on the western side of the river on the upgradient side of the plume, but TCE also was detected at numerous locations in the center and eastern bank of the river.
The TCE plume discharges to the river where fine-grained glaciomarine sediments of the Presumpscot Formation are absent and where coarse-grained facies of buried glaciomarine fan deposits provide a pathway for ground-water flow. Based on results of analyses of vapor-diffusion samples and other previous studies, the plume appears to pass under and beyond the river near Boiling Springs and along the river for about 300 feet downstream from the sand boils. A coarse-grained, organic-rich layer at the base of the alluvial flood plain sediments is confined by overlying fine-grained alluvial sediments and may provide a conduit for ground-water leaking upward from buried glaciomarine fan deposits.
Additional publication details
USGS Numbered Series
Distribution of Trichloroethylene and Geologic Controls on Contaminant Pathways near the Royal River, McKin Superfund Site Area, Gray, Maine