Paper No. 19-6
Presentation Time: 2:25 PM
GEOCHEMICAL ASSESSMENT OF TRACE ELEMENTS ENRICHMENT ALONG NAUGATUCK AND HOUSATONIC RIVERS, CONNECTICUT
The Naugatuck River is a major river in the state of Connecticut, and it is the largest tributary of the Housatonic River. It is the only river that flows entirely within the state of Connecticut. The Housatonic River spans nearly 150 miles where it begins in Pittsfield, MA, through Connecticut to the Long Island Sound by New Haven, CT. Illicit dumping of polychlorinated Biphenyls (PCBs), a known organic contaminant, into the Housatonic river over time has caused concerns of the usability of the river, as the contaminant can lead to a variety of potentially lethal disorders. Also, on October 27th, 2017, several million gallons of raw sewage from Waterbury Sewage Treatment facility accidentally flowed into the Naugatuck River for five hours killing scores of fish in several towns. Another accidental release of more than 1000 gallons of oil from Onlin Brass manufacturing facility spilled into Naugatuck River in January 2018. All these have clearly impaired both the water, and sediment quality. To this effect, this project examined the impact of human activities on chemical signature of trace elements in stream sediments along Housatonic and Naugatuck Rivers with the view of evaluating mobilization and transport of solutes released along the downgradient segments of the entire rivers’ length. A total of 75 river sediments samples were collected and analyzed for acid extractable, and basic soil parameters such as particle size, organic matter and soluble salts. In addition, water samples were collected and analyzed for both cations and anions. Using a combination of statistical analysis, calculation of enrichment factors, GIS maps with overlays of land use activity, we further relate spatial concentrations of trace elements, and land use activities. Results showed concentrations of elements are log normally distributed, with high concentrations of Pb, As, Cd, Cr, Cu, Pb, and Zn associated with areas of significant human activities along both rivers.