EPA tracking Duwamish River contamination with river sensors

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by GARY CHITTIM / KING 5 News

Bio | Email | Follow: @gchittimK5

KING5.com

Posted on November 14, 2012 at 7:12 PM

Updated Wednesday, Nov 14 at 7:26 PM

SEATTLE -- Parts of Seattle’s Duwamish River are so toxic, they add up to form of an EPA Superfund Site. That’s why EPA divers chose those places to install some new pollution testing devices Wednesday.

During the pre-dive meeting, the divers discuss the hazards, including working in a current, poor visibility and exposure to hazardous levels of PCBs and other dangerous chemicals.

When it’s time to splash, they prepare arrow-shaped sensors they will bury in the sediments on the river bottom.

Unit Leader Sean Sheldrake explained that other techniques such as core samples and water samples just give scientists a “snapshot” of what’s going on. The sensors will be left in for weeks. So when they pull them out, they will see if the pollution fluctuates from with the tides or temperature or other factors over time.

If the devices prove to be dependable, they could be used on many Puget Sound projects and maybe even during the clean-up of the Duwamish itself.
 

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