Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Mine metals at Maine Superfund site causing widespread contamination

Date:
September 20, 2013
Source:
Dartmouth College
Summary:
Toxic metals from the only open pit mine in an estuary system in the United States are widespread in nearby sediment, water and fish and may be affecting marine and coastal animals that feed on them beyond the mine site, a new study finds.

Hannah Broadley, co-author of a Dartmouth study on toxic mining metal contamination of sediment, water and fish at a Maine Superfund site, collects Atlantic killifish from the Goose Pond estuary's most contaminated area.
Credit: Kate Buckman

Toxic metals from the only open pit mine in an estuary system in the United States are widespread in nearby sediment, water and fish and may be affecting marine and coastal animals that feed on them beyond the mine site, a new Dartmouth study finds.

Related Articles


Mining contamination's effects on human health and aquatic and terrestrial wildlife is well documented in the United States, but the Dartmouth study is one of the first to look at the impacts of an open pit mine on an estuarine environment and the coastal marine food web.

The results, which appear in the journal Archives of Environmental Contamination and Toxicology, are further evidence that humans who eat seafood from areas close to contaminated sites may be at risk. A PDF of the study also is available on request.

As part of Dartmouth's Toxic Metals Superfund Research Program, researchers studied metal concentrations in the sediment, water and Atlantic killifish in the Goose Pond estuary at the closed Callahan Mine Site in Brooksville, Maine. The former open-pit, hard-rock mine is now a Superfund site being cleaned up by the Environmental Protection Agency. The Atlantic killifish, also known as mummichogs and mud minnows, live in brackish and shallow coastal waters in the eastern United States and Canada and are important food for larger fish that humans consume.

As anticipated, researchers found elevated levels of copper, zinc, cadmium and lead in the sediment, water and killifish. But they found the metal concentrations were surprisingly high in distinct areas of the marsh, indicating the metals are continually seeping from the mine's waste rock piles and debris. Results showed the metals from the sediment and water are being taken up by killifish in the Goose Pond estuary and have the potential to affect fish, birds and other animals that feed on them in nearby Penobscot Bay in central Maine. The results also showed the site represents a regional hot spot of copper, zinc and lead for the Gulf of Maine that is surpassed only by levels in some areas of Boston Harbor. Researchers hope their findings will inform the EPA's remediation decisions and provide a baseline for evaluating future actions at the site.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Dartmouth College. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Hannah J. Broadley, Kate L. Buckman, Deenie M. Bugge, Celia Y. Chen. Spatial Variability of Metal Bioaccumulation in Estuarine Killifish (Fundulus heteroclitus) at the Callahan Mine Superfund Site, Brooksville, ME. Archives of Environmental Contamination and Toxicology, 2013; DOI: 10.1007/s00244-013-9952-y

Cite This Page:

Dartmouth College. "Mine metals at Maine Superfund site causing widespread contamination." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 20 September 2013. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/09/130920094752.htm>.
Dartmouth College. (2013, September 20). Mine metals at Maine Superfund site causing widespread contamination. ScienceDaily. Retrieved December 18, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/09/130920094752.htm
Dartmouth College. "Mine metals at Maine Superfund site causing widespread contamination." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/09/130920094752.htm (accessed December 18, 2014).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Earth & Climate News

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Navy Unveils Robot Fish

Navy Unveils Robot Fish

Reuters - Light News Video Online (Dec. 18, 2014) The U.S. Navy unveils an underwater device that mimics the movement of a fish. Tara Cleary reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Arctic Warming Twice As Fast As Rest Of Planet

Arctic Warming Twice As Fast As Rest Of Planet

Newsy (Dec. 18, 2014) The Arctic is warming twice as fast as the rest of the planet, thanks in part to something called feedback. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Ivory Trade Boom Swamps Law Efforts

Ivory Trade Boom Swamps Law Efforts

Reuters - Business Video Online (Dec. 17, 2014) Demand for ivory has claimed the lives of tens of thousands of African elephants and now a conservation report says the illegal trade is overwhelming efforts to enforce the law. Amy Pollock reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Indictments in West Virginia Chemical Spill Case

Indictments in West Virginia Chemical Spill Case

AP (Dec. 17, 2014) A grand jury indicted four former executives of Freedom Industries, the company at the center of the Jan. 9, 2014 chemical spill in Charleston, West Virginia. The spill contaminated the Elk River and the water supply of 300,000 people. (Dec. 17) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Plants & Animals

Earth & Climate

Fossils & Ruins

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins