8


Soil and Sediment


I. BACKGROUND   §8.1

II. SOIL AND SEDIMENT SAMPLING   §8.2

Figure 8-1: Soil and Sediment Sampling Sites

III. SOIL AND SEDIMENT ANALYSIS RESULTS   §8.3

Table 8-1: Tritium Results in Soil and Sediment Samples

Table 8-2: Metals and Oil/Grease Results in Soil and
                   Sediment Samples

§8.1      I. BACKGROUND

The analysis of soil and sediment as part of a routine environmental monitoring program can provide information regarding past releases to air or water. DOE guidance recommends—and Berkeley Lab performs—annual soil and sediment sampling to determine long-term accumulation trends and baseline profiles.1 No other specific regulatory requirements exist for routinely assessing these media, although any contamination discovered by sampling must be handled according to federal and state hazardous waste regulations. Details on Berkeley Lab’s soil and sediment program are included in its Environmental Monitoring Plan.2 In 1998, sampling was done in November before the rainy season. All sampling results are presented in volume II.

§8.2      II. SOIL AND SEDIMENT SAMPLING

In 1998, soil samples from the top 2 to 5 centimeters (1 to 2 inches) of surface soils were collected from three locations around the site and one off-site environmental monitoring station. See Figure 8-1. Locations were chosen to coincide with ambient-air sampling stations. Samples were analyzed for gross alpha and gross beta radiation, gamma emitters, tritium, metals, moisture content, and pH. In 1998, soil samples were not analyzed for semivolatiles (as was done previously), because historical results demonstrated that these analytes in soils were consistently below practical quantification limits.

Sediment samples were collected during the same period from main and tributary creek beds of the North Fork of Strawberry Creek and Chicken Creek. See Figure 8-1. Sediment samples were analyzed for gross alpha and gross beta radiation, gamma emitters, tritium, metals, polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), petroleum hydrocarbons (diesel fuel and oil and grease), and pH.


Figure 8-1      Soil and Sediment Sampling Sites


§8.3      III. SOIL AND SEDIMENT ANALYSIS RESULTS

All gross alpha, gross beta, and gamma-emitter results were similar to background levels of naturally occurring radioisotopes commonly found in soil and sediment. Tritium levels measured were comparable to results reported for these locations in previous years. In 1998, only three of the eight samples contained detectable levels of tritium. The maximum tritium level in soil was 0.059 becquerels per gram of soil near Building 69. The maximum tritium level in sediment was 0.042 Bq/g at the Chicken Creek–Main location. Table 8-1 summarizes the soil and sediment analysis results for tritium.

Table 8-1      Tritium Results in Soil and Sediment Samplesa

Sampling location

Matrix

Tritium (Bq/g)b

Building 50

Soil

<0.003c

Building 69

Soil

0.0589

Building 85

Soil

<0.003c

ENV-B13C

Soil

<0.003c

Chicken Creek–Main

Sediment

0.0419

Chicken Creek–Tributary

Sediment

0.0142

North Fork Strawberry Creek–Main

Sediment

<0.003c

North Fork Strawberry Creek–Tributary

Sediment

<0.003c

a One sample per location
b 1 Bq = 27 pCi
c Result below detection limit

 

Berkeley Lab is currently conducting a corrective action program under the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act of 1976 (RCRA) to investigate soil and groundwater tritium contamination near the National Tritium Labeling Facility. For a summary of the RCRA investigation, see §3.18. For groundwater monitoring results, see §6.11.

All results for metals analyses were also within normal levels for soil and sediment and well below regulatory levels.3 PCB results for sediment samples were near or below practical quantification limits. Measurements for pH were within the normal range for soils and sediments. The maximum level of oil and grease (960 mg/kg) was measured at the Chicken Creek–Tributary location. Oil and grease contamination is commonly associated with motorized vehicles on roads and parking lots. The Laboratory’s Cyclotron Road traverses the grade directly above the sampling site. This location will be sampled in future years to monitor any changes.

Table 8-2 shows metals (where at least one sample was above the limit of quantification) and oil and grease results.

Table 8-2      Metals and Oil/Grease Results in Soil and Sediment Samplesa,d

 

Sample Location

 
 

Soil

Sediment

 

Analyte

B50 mg/kg

B69 mg/kg

B85 mg/kg

ENV-B13C mg/kg

Chicken Creek– Main mg/kg

Chicken Creek– Tributary mg/kg

N. Fork Strawberry Creek–Main mg/kg

N. Fork Strawberry Creek– Tributary mg/kg

Regulatory criteria (TTLCb) mg/kg

Arsenic

6.8

8

4.8

5.6

2.3

4.3

5.3

7.8

500

Barium

169

121

114

99

157

96

82

89

10,000

Beryllium

1.1

NDc

1.2

1

0.75

0.85

0.74

0.75

75

Cadmium

NDc

1.3

NDc

NDc

NDc

NDc

NDc

NDc

100

Chromium

33

59

65

26

54

62

22

48

2,500

Cobalt

8.1

8.7

11

5.6

8.5

9.3

6.9

6.8

8,000

Copper

56

50

22

21

24

35

14

23

2,500

Lead

61

36

9.2

93

33

39

10

35

1,000

Mercury

0.2

NDc

NDc

0.22

NDc

NDc

NDc

NDc

20

Nickel

35

49

49

23

41

41

21

22

2,000

Vanadium

49

46

73

36

41

53

48

45

2,400

Zinc

110

255

51

105

92

20

86

112

5,000

Oil & Grease

130

960

180

210

a One sample per location
b Total Threshold Limit Concentration (22 California Code of Regulations 66261.24)3
c Result was below detection limit.
d Results for antimony, molybdenum, selenium, silver, and thallium were all below practical quantification limits and are not reported in Table 8-2.
   These results, along with other non-TTLC metals (aluminum, boron, manganese, and iron), are included in volume II.