GSA Annual Meeting in Phoenix, Arizona, USA - 2019

Paper No. 101-13
Presentation Time: 9:00 AM-6:30 PM


STEORTS, Emma B.1, SMITH, Brendan1, TOTH, Randy2, VELDHUIZEN, Hannah J.3, BROWN, Kenneth L.4 and LATIMER, Jennifer C.5, (1)West Virginia University, 98 Beechurst Ave., Morgantown, WV 25606, (2)Department of Geology & Geography, West Virginia University, 98 Beechurst Avenue, Morgantown, WV 26506, (3)Department of Earth and Environmental Systems, Indiana State University, Terre Haute, IN 47809, (4)Department of Geosciences, DePauw University, P.O. Box 37, Greencastle, IN 46135, (5)Earth and Environmental Systems, Indiana State University, 2311 Arleth St, Terre Haute, IN 47802

Reedsville is a small town in Preston County, West Virginia that was previously the home of the Sterling Faucet company, which used sand molds to cast plumbing fixtures. The company operated in Reedsville from the 1950’s until 1978, and after closing operations, it left behind a dump site and scattered foundry sand deposits. In 2006, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection (WVDEP) analyzed soil samples from the Reedsville area and discovered elevated concentrations of lead (Pb - 5,000 ppm) and copper (Cu - 66,000 ppm). Remediation efforts by the EPA resulted in the removal and replacement of heavily contaminated soils and sediments. However, given the distribution and concentration of these heavy metal contaminants, we hypothesize that contamination still persists in the area.

Twenty-nine soil samples were collected along the northern, southern, and western borders of the Sterling Faucet foundry location and its adjacent dump site. All samples were analyzed for elemental concentrations (Pb, As, Zn, Ni, Cr, Mn, Cu, Ti, Sb, Sn, and V) using a handheld x-ray fluorescence spectrometer (p-XRF). Elements analyses of the soils reveal variable heavy metal concentrations of Pb (18 - 2400 ppm), Cu (124 - 2445 ppm), Ni (28 - 251 ppm), Cr (48 – 490 ppm), As (7 – 105 ppm), and Sb (13 – 70 ppm). While many of the locations have relatively low concentrations of these elements, our results reveal that a few locations contain elevated concentrations despite previous remediation efforts. Elevated concentrations of Pb, Cu, Ni, and Zn are observed along the southern border, which are in close proximity to former foundry dump locations. Concentrations of Cu and Pb are also elevated near the western boundary, which is down slope from the foundry site. Contaminant concentrations tend to increase in the south and west, which corresponds with the flow direction of the nearby Kanes Creek and is down slope from the old foundry and dump site.