U.S. Department of Defense contract to demonstrate MS-1200 sub for the in situ mapping of contaminated sediments

MS-1200 sub underwater gamma-ray spectrometer

Technology expected to offer significant cost, safety and environmental benefits pre- and post-remediation of contaminated sites.

A proven tool for mapping fine sediments

The MS-1200 sub, Medusa’s underwater gamma-ray spectrometer has been applied for mapping soil and sediment composition in different environments.  One of these applications is the mapping the dispersal of fine sediments from underwater disposal facilities for dredged materials. By mapping the silt content before and after the disposal of the dredged material, patterns of sediment transport can be mapped.

Application for in situ mapping of contaminated sediments

Partrac GeoMarine Inc., the Houston based Marine Survey and Consultancy company, are pleased to announce the award by the US Department of Defense (DoD) of a 3-year contract to demonstrate a new tool for mapping the in situ distribution of Contaminants of Concern (COCs) in aquatic sediments. The award is part of the Environmental Security Technology Certification Program (ESTCP), the DoD’s environmental technology demonstration and validation program.

Partrac, together with its Netherlands based partner Medusa Explorations, will deploy the new instrument at up to three contaminated DoD Superfund sites to map the distribution of COCs such as Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbons (PAHs), Polychlorinated Biphenyls (PCBs) and heavy metals, e.g. mercury, lead, zinc.

Dr. Patrick Friend, Partrac GeoMarine’s Business Development Consultant (Americas), said “We are really excited to be bringing this new instrument over from Europe to be used in the US. This technology is a potential game-changer in the way that contaminated sediments are mapped, and can offer significant cost and safety benefits over traditional contaminated sediment sampling and mapping methods”.

Dr. Ronald Koomans, Director of Medusa Explorations B.V. said “We have trialed this technology in Europe over the past few years, and have successfully mapped the distribution of contaminated sediments in ports, harbors, and rivers – the Port of Rotterdam and the River Elbe, for example. We can use the tool not only for new site investigations, but also for post-remediation monitoring of sites that have been capped, for example, to test capping efficiency.”

The new instrument coming to the US is a specially adapted aquatic gamma spectrometer developed by Medusa Radiometrics. This is a passive instrument that measures the natural geochemical signature of sediments which can then be related to the sediment contaminant content. The tool works equally well for both naturally deposited and dredged sediments in all aquatic environments – marine, riverine and lacustrine. It has a number of other applications including rapid in situ mapping of silt content and grain-size distribution, and even the quasi real-time mapping of sediment transport.

Dredging industry

Dredge Wire, a news-site dedicated to the dredging industry, expects that the new technology will be of interest to the environmental remediation and dredging industries. The new method for mapping sediments will provide maps with a  resolution that is much higher than can be achieved by taking discrete grab samples. The high resolution maps of the MS-1200 sub will ultimately result in  improved site remediation at lower costs. The complete article in Dredge Wire can be read here.