GSA Annual Meeting in Phoenix, Arizona, USA - 2019

Paper No. 101-3
Presentation Time: 9:00 AM-6:30 PM


GOKEY, Kailee1, BROWN, Kenneth2, MOWERY, Chase1, MATES, Erin1 and TOTH, Randy1, (1)Department of Geology & Geography, West Virginia University, 98 Beechurst Avenue, Morgantown, WV 26506, (2)Department of Geosciences, DePauw University, 602 South College Avenue, Greencastle, IN 46135

Heavy metal contamination in urban environments is a growing public health concern. Characterizing the distribution and concentrations of these elements allows researchers to better educate and warn residents of the potential health risks.

Glass manufacturing processes often utilize heavy metals (e.g., Cr, Pb, U, Co, Cu, and Zn) to generate an array of vibrant colors. Morgantown, WV has a long history of glass manufacturing that included the Beaumont Glass, Quality Glass, and Seneca Glass companies. While the Seneca Glass building still remains, both the Beaumont and Quality Glass factories were named Brownfield sites after glass production at these factories ceased. Quality Glass was later fully remediated and turned into a kayak ramp and trailhead for the Mon River Rail Trail. This study aims to investigate the distribution and concentrations of heavy metals within the Brownfield site formerly occupied by the Beaumont Glass factory. We hypothesize that this Brownfield site continues to be impacted by heavy metal contamination.

Seventeen samples, including soil, glass, and slag, were collected from the site and analyzed for their elemental concentrations (Ba, Ti, V, Cr, Mn, Fe, Ni, Cu, Zn, Th, Rb, U, Sr, and Zr) using a handheld XRF spectrometer (p-XRF). Field observations indicate that slag and glass fragments are still present on the property. Our results also reveal that elevated concentrations of these metals continue to exist despite previous remediation efforts. Elements of interest include Cr (soil, 15-189 ppm; glass 13-237 ppm; slag, 110-433 ppm); Ni (soil, 12-52 ppm; glass, 14-1629 ppm; slag, 27-94 ppm); Cu (soil, 14-110 ppm; glass, 12-3570 ppm; slag, 64-148 ppm); and U (soil, 0-120 ppm; glass, 2-1402 ppm; slag, 1-43 ppm).

Our observations and results indicate that the Beaumont Glass Factory Brownfield site remains contaminated with heavy metals and future remediation efforts are warranted. The highest concentrations of these elements were observed at sample locations near the southeastern end of the property.