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Porewater Concentrations and Bioavailability: How You Can Measure Them and Why They Influence Contaminated Sediment Remediation

Superfund Research Program

NARPM Presents and Risk e-Learning are offering a four-part webinar series to help you understand why, how, and when to measure porewater concentrations and bioavailability as part of contaminated sediment assessment and management. Hosted jointly by the EPA Contaminated Sediments Forum and the National Institute of Environmental Health Science’s Superfund Research Program, this webinar series will also focus on the use of passive sampling devices (PSD) and what they tell us about contaminant bioavailability. Previously held as a course at the National Association for Remedial Project Managers (NARPM) Training Program  meeting, the webinar series features experts in the field of porewater and bioavailability and includes lectures and case studies, including practical tips to maximize the utility of porewater and bioavailability measurements.

Presenters will explain the basics of chemical fate, transport, and uptake, with a focus on porewater as a key route of exposure and a strong indicator of bioavailability. PSDs are a promising technology for measuring porewater concentrations and assessing bioavailability, particularly for common sediment contaminants such as polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs), chlorinated pesticides, and dioxin-like compounds. The webinar series will include information about direct measurements of porewater, such as centrifuging sediment samples or Henry Samplers, which may also be used and are particularly useful for measuring metals.

Session I – Introduction to Porewater, Bioavailability, and PSDs
October 6, 2014, 12:30-2:30 p.m. EDT
An archive of this webinar will be available on EPA's Clu-in Training & Events Web page .

This was the first session of the four-part webinar series to help you understand why, how, and when to measure porewater concentrations and bioavailability as part of contaminated sediment assessment and management. It provided an introduction to porewater concentrations, the use of passive sampling devices (PSD), and what they tell us about contaminant bioavailability.

Presenters explained the basics of porewater and bioavailability at contaminated sediment sites, including chemical fate, transport, and uptake, with a focus on porewater as a key route of exposure and a strong indicator of bioavailability. The webinar highlighted the application of PSDs to measure freely dissolved contaminants at Superfund sites. An emphasis was placed on how sampling methods can be used to assess, monitor and manage risk at these sites, an important part of the cleanup process.

  • Introduction and Moderation: Heather Henry, Superfund Research Program
  • Presenter 1: Karl Gustavson, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers
    Presentation Title: Porewater and Bioavailability at Contaminated Sediment Sites
  • Presenter 2: Marc Greenberg, EPA Environmental Response Team
    Presentation Title: Passive Sampling Methods for Managing Contaminated Sediments: Risk Assessment & Management

Session II – PSDs for Organic Contaminants
November 19, 2014, 2:00-4:00 p.m. EST
Registration for this webinar is available on EPA's Clu-in Training & Events Web page .

  • Introduction and Moderation: Matthew Lambert, Office of Superfund Remediation and Technology Innovation
  • Presenter 1: Keith Maruya, National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences
    Presentation Title: Passive Sampling Methods for Managing Contaminated Sediments: State of the Science
  • Presenter 2: Rob Burgess, EPA Office of Research and Development
    Presentation Title: Passive Sampling for Measuring Freely Dissolved Contaminants in Sediments: Concepts and Principles
  • Presenter 3: Upal Ghosh, University of Maryland Baltimore County
    Presentation Title: Passive Sampling for the Measurement of Freely Dissolved Contaminants in Water: Practical Guidance

Session III – Metals and PSDs
December 1, 2014, 12:30-2:30 p.m. EST
Registration for this webinar is available on EPA's Clu-in Training & Events Web page .

Dissolved metal concentrations of sediment porewaters provide important information which is useful to predict bioavailability and toxicity at sites with metal contaminated sediments. Numerous methods are available to sample and measure porewater metals, however, it is critical that appropriate techniques are selected and employed based on factors including data needs and site characteristics. During the first presentation, methods and approaches to accurately measure metals in sediment porewater will be discussed along with conditions that influence metal behavior and bioavailability in soils and sediments.

The second presentation of this session will present a case study of the Cottage Grove Reservoir located approximately 15 km downstream of the historic Black Butte Mine Superfund Site. The reservoir contains fish that are elevated in methylmercury. Region-10 is working with the Office of Research & Development to identify sources of methylmercury production within the reservoir sediment. Sediment porewater samples have provided insights into areas where inorganic mercury is more bioavailable and methylation is enhanced.

  • Introduction and Moderation: TBD
  • Presenter 1: Mark Cantwell, EPA Office of Superfund Remediation and Technology Innovation
    Presentation Title: Methods for Measuring and Assessing Dissolved Metals in Sediment Porewaters
  • Presenter 2: Chris Eckley, EPA Region 10
    Presentation Title: Measurements of Mercury Methylation in Porewater: A Case Study from the Black Butte Mine Superfund Site, OR

Session IV – Case Studies: PSDs for Organic Contaminants
December 15, 2014, 12:30-2:30 p.m. EST
Registration for this webinar is available on EPA's Clu-in Training & Events Web page .

  • Introduction and Moderation: TBD
  • Presenter 1: Judy Huang, EPA Region 9
    Presentation Title: Case Study: Palos Verdes Shelf
  • Presenter 2: Rachelle Thompson, EPA Region 9
    Presentation Title: Passive Sampling Case Study: United Heckathorn Superfund Site

Special thanks to our webinar and NARPM course development team:

  • Matt Lambert, US EPA Office of Superfund Remediation and Technology Innovation (OSRTI)
  • Heather Henry, NIEHS Superfund Research Program
  • Helen Bottcher, US EPA Remedial Project Manager (RPM) Region 10
  • Jim Hahnenberg, US EPA RPM Region 5
  • Clint Sperry, US EPA RPM Region 7
  • Michael Adam, US EPA OSRTI
  • Gary Turner, US EPA Technology Innovation and Field Services Division (TIFSD)
  • Jean Balent, US EPA TIFSD
  • Justin Crane, MDB, Inc.
  • Austin Oelschlager, Tetra Tech, Inc.

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