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Pilot to Full-Scale: Six Years' Experience at New Bedford Harbor Superfund Site

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The New Bedford Harbor Superfund Site in southeastern Massachusetts contains sediments contaminated with percent levels of PCBs discharged from electrical-capacitor manufacturing plants as well as percent levels of heavy metals from various other industries around the harbor. The site was included on the Superfund National Priorities List (NPL) in September 1983 as the Commonwealth of Massachusetts' priority site.

Pursuant to a 1998 cleanup plan, full-scale dredging operations began in summer 2004. The solids processes include hydraulic dredging, screening and desanding, chemical conditioning, and dewatering using recessed-chamber presses. Dewatered TSCA solids are loaded into lined rail cars and transported to a TSCA landfill in Michigan. From 2004 through 2009, approximately 160,000 cubic yards of PCB-contaminated sediment were removed from New Bedford Harbor.

The water treatment process treats the filtrate from the dewatering operation. Based upon pilot testing, the full-scale processes included equalization, iron co-precipitation, high-rate dissolved air flotation, filtration, granular activated carbon, and post-carbon filtration. In six years, approximately 175 million gallons of water have been treated and discharged to New Bedford Harbor without exceeding any of the stringent monthly average discharge requirements.

Keywords: GAC; PCBs; desanding; dredging; filtration; heavy metals; high-rate DAF; iron co-precipitation; water treatment

Document Type: Research Article


Publication date: 2010-01-01

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