Document Title:

Contaminant Survey of Sunkhaze Stream and Baker Brook : Sunkhaze Meadows National Wildlife Refuge Milford, Maine

Steven E. Mierzykowski Kenneth C. Carr

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In 1993 a screening-level contaminant survey was conducted on Sunkhaze Meadows National Wildlife Refuge. Elevated levels of Total PCBs were found in Baker Brook sediment samples (0.78 mg/kg dw) and high chromium levels (> 10 ug/g ww) were found in chain pickerel (Esox niger) and yellow perch (Perca flavescens) samples from Sunkhaze Stream. In 2001, a follow-up contaminant survey was conducted using additional locations along these watercourses to validate the earlier results and to determine the extent of contamination in fish and sediments. Eighteen wholebody composite fish samples and five sediment samples were collected in 2001. Composite samples of wholebody chain pickerel and yellow perch were collected from five stations on Sunkhaze Stream. In Baker Brook, sediments samples were collected from five locations. Eight composite samples of wholebody brown bullhead (Ameriurus nebulosus) were also collected from four Baker Brook sites co-located with sediment collection locations. Bullheads were not available at the fifth sediment collection site. Fish and sediment samples were analyzed for organochlorine compounds and inorganic elements. The contaminants of concern in the 1993 collections (i.e., PCBs in sediment and chromium in fish tissue), were not found at elevated levels in the 2001 collections. In 2001, fish tissue samples in Sunkhaze Stream and Baker Brook did not contain detectable levels of Total PCB or chromium. No other organochlorine compound or inorganic elements were found at elevated concentrations in fish tissue during the follow-up study. In Baker Brook, Total PCB was not detected in the five sediment samples. Chromium was detected in Baker Brook sediments at low levels, but the element was not detected in any fish samples from the brook. An examination of sediment data suggests that the former Milford Municipal Landfill, closed since 1995, may be influencing Baker Brook. Of the 21 inorganic elements in the analytical scan, ten elements exhibited their highest concentrations in the Baker Brook sediment collection site approximately one-half mile downstream of the former landfill - Baker 4. Of the ten elements, however, only cadmium (1.18 mg/kg dw) occurred at an elevated concentration, and at a level only slightly above the threshold effect concentration (TEC; cadmium TEC is 0.99 mg/kg). The only other element to occur above the respective sediment TEC was arsenic (TEC 9.79 mg/kg), which was found at 10.2 mg/kg at location Baker 5 at the confluence of Baker Brook and Sunkhaze Stream.

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service



Maine Field Office Environmental Contaminants Program

New England Field Office Contaminants Program
Last updated: June 12, 2015