Toxic Substances in Lake Sediments
The LCBP's Lake Champlain Sediment Toxics Assessment Program surveyed lake-bottom sediments to characterize the occurrence and amounts of toxic substances throughout the Lake. In 1991, samples were collected from 30 sites and analyzed for common contaminants. The Geochemical Sediment Sampling Sites Map [577 KB] map illustrates the sites sampled in Lake Champlain for this program. Several contaminants were found at low to moderate levels lakewide that are not likely to impact aquatic organisms.
However, contaminant levels exceeded guidelines indicating potential risk to aquatic organisms in three localized areas of the Lake: Cumberland Bay, Outer Malletts Bay, and Inner Burlington Harbor. The Sites of Concern and Clean-up Actions Map [42 KB] shows the status as of 2004 of these three sites as well as the substances of concern at each of the three locations.
In 2000, the NYSDEC completed a three-year, $35 million restoration of Cumberland Bay that removed contaminated sediment and restored affected wetland and shoreline areas. Over 140,000 tons of PCB-contaminated sludge was removed from the bottom of the Bay. Continued monitoring will characterize the site's influence on water quality lakewide. On-going pollution prevention and monitoring are continuing at Outer Malletts Bay and Inner Burlington Harbor.
Several pollution prevention initiatives have helped remove toxics from the waste stream, before they get into waterways. Voluntary mercury collections have been particularly successful. The National Wildlife Federation worked with dental offices to collect 40 lbs. of mercury. Another 40 lbs. were collected though a dairy farm manometer replacement program by the Northwest Vermont Solid Waste Management District and Vermont Department of Agriculture. Both these programs received Lake Champlain Basin Program funding.
The Vermont Department of Environmental Conservation household mercury thermometer swap collected 100 lbs. of mercury statewide. The voluntary "Clean Sweep" program collected 26,000 lbs. of pesticides from farmers and businesses in New York Basin counties during spring 2004. This program is sponsored by New York State Department of Environmental Conservation.Learn More...
Design: Nicole L. Ballinger (LCBP) | Maps: Northern Cartographic and LCBP