Clean Ocean Action

Clean Ocean Advocate, August 2004

Kristen Milligan, Ph.D., 732-872-0111,

Scientific Review Panel for HARS Meets

On June 30, COA attended the Scientific Review Panel (SRP) meeting in New York City for the Historic Area Remediation Site (HARS).  The SRP is a collection of technical representatives from agencies, interest groups, and academia.  This group is kept informed about monitoring activities at HARS and is expected to provide feedback about the studies.  Meetings are supposed to be held annually.  However, there has been some delay in this timeline.  


All the monitoring reports from HARS are on the US Army Corps of Engineer’s website:  Monitoring that has been completed includes detailed tracking of barges placing material at HARS, success of sand caps that were placed over dioxin-laden mounds in the mid-90s, fish tagging studies in progress to evaluate the use of HARS by fish, and contaminant levels in sediments and bottom-dwelling worms.  


Of particular interest, the contaminant studies have not been fully completed and COA anticipates the results.  Preliminary data for toxin levels in worms show that levels of contamination of polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) and hydrocarbons within un-remediated areas of HARS have not appreciably decreased.  However, there were not enough worms that could be collected in the newly capped areas to find out if those areas were less contaminated.  The data also show that levels of background (outside HARS but in the NY Bight Apex) PCB contamination in the worms have not decreased over the past decade.  This last finding, although preliminary, is illustration of the persistence of PCBs in the coastal environment.


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