Paper No. 7
Presentation Time: 2:30 PM


PORTWOOD, Cory A.1, STONE, Jeffery2, LATIMER, Jennifer C.3 and HARDIN, Kevin1, (1)Earth and Environmental Systems, Indiana State University, Terre Haute, IN 47809, (2)Terre Haute, IN 47809, (3)Department of Earth and Environmental Systems, Indiana State University, Terre Haute, IN 47809,

International Paper (IP) came to Terre Haute, Indiana in 1917 and produced corrugated packaging products until 2005. IP built five storage ponds in the mid 1950’s for excess paper pulp. Even though the IP site is currently abandoned, the ponds remain and are located directly adjacent to both the Wabash River and Terre Haute’s old industrial park. The ponds are positioned between Interstate 70, Tangent Rail Works and an illegal dumping site. The Wabash River, which drains over 32,000 square miles of farmland, has a long history of environmental pollution from construction sites, shoreline industries and wastewater treatment plants. The Wabash River periodically overflows the shallow bank that separates the holding ponds from the river.

In June 2013, a 68-cm sediment core was collected from one of the IP holding ponds. The core has been analyzed using a combination of fossil diatom assemblage and geochemical analyses in order to isolate potential sources of pollution. Periodic flooding from the Wabash River may be responsible for abrupt changes in the diatom flora through time, recorded as more diverse taxa and those associated with the river are introduced into the sediment. Eutrophic indicator diatom taxa such as Stephanodiscus hantzschii and Cyclostephanos dubius are present in recent sediments and several diatom specimens have been observed with minor teratologic deformities, suggesting some possible influence of heavy metals. Slightly deeper into the sediment record the diatom productivity decreases dramatically.

Analysis of dried and crushed sediment samples via a Niton hand held XRF suggest that Zn and Cu concentrations exceed threshold effects levels (TEL) throughout the core. Pb and Cr concentrations are elevated above TEL only near the bottom of the core, while Cd concentrations exceed severe effects levels near the top of the core. These values represent significant heavy metal accumulation in the pond likely from multiple environmental sources. Further geochemical analyses will include detailed phosphorus geochemistry and acidification of samples and analysis via Inductively Coupled Plasma-Optical Emission Spectroscopy for an estimate of metal bioavailability.