AWRI Environmental Chemistry

Lower Grand River, MI


Products:

Grand River Sediment Assessment


Project Description:

A preliminary investigation of the nature and extent of sediment contamination in the lower Grand River was performed. Three areas in the lower Grand River exceeded sediment quality guidelines for heavy metals and selected organic chemicals. The locations and parameters of concern are listed below:

Harbor Island (G20). Exceeds sediment PEL values for chromium, lead, nickel, and DDE in the top core section. Deeper core sections were extensively contaminated with heavy metals.

Spring Lake (G6). Exceeds sediment PEL values for chromium, lead, cadmium, nickel, and DDE.

Grand Haven (G12). Exceeds sediment PEL values for chromium and nickel. The sediments at this location exhibited a statistically significant level of toxicity to amphipods when compared to the control.

The extent of contaminated sediments in the vicinity of G12 (near the Grand Haven tannery) appears to be localized in a small area. Some additional sampling of this area would be necessary to define the extent of the contaminated sediments. The results for Spring Lake and Harbor Island show these areas to be contaminated with heavy metals and selected organic compounds. Additional sampling and analysis would be necessary to characterize the extent of sediment contamination in the areas around Harbor Island and Spring Lake.

Meander core islands appear to play a significant role in the lower Grand River with respect to the deposition of contaminated sediments. Pockets of contaminated sediments were found at the downstream tip of Harbor Island (G20), and the unnamed islands near G24 and G17. These areas serve as sediment deposition zones and indicate the effects of historical discharges of metals and organic chemicals to the lower Grand River. High water events however can transport contaminated sediments from these deposits and increase the contaminant loading to Lake Michigan. Since metals and organic chemicals are associated with the suspended sediment load, the role of the meander core deposits in contaminant transport needs to be examined in detail. This investigation examined three of the 12 meander core islands that are located in the lower Grand River.

EPA Research Vessel Mudpuppy on the Grand River

The research vessel the Mudpuppy on the Grand River

Page last modified February 26, 2013