Elevated PCB levels found in Silver Lake fishBy Anthony Fyden
12:00AM / Tuesday, July 05, 2005
Fish in Pittsfield's Silver Lake show elevated levels of PCB contamination, although they are lower than the levels found in fish in the nearby Housatonic River, according to a new Environmental Protection Agency report.
A variety of fish were tested, including largemouth bass, yellow perch, white sucker, pumpkinseed sunfish, and golden shiner. The fish were collected using boat electro-shocking methods.
"Fish tissue results showed a range of total PCB concentrations from 24-168 parts per million (ppm)," an EPA release stated. "Fish tissue concentrations were predictably related to size class and feeding strategy."
The data will be used to help determine whether the fish should be completely removed before a "cap" is placed on the bottom of the lake. The planned capping, along with the removal of 400 yards of highly contaminated sediment from the lake, is part of the Consent Decree settlement among the city, other government agencies, and GE, over PCB contamination in the area.
Along with the EPA, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the Massachusetts Division of Fisheries and Wildlife and Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection participated in the testing. Before a final decision is made on the fate of the fish, more testing will need to be done.
"[U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the Massachusetts Division of Fisheries and Wildlife] will conduct a one-day follow-up survey later this summer or fall to gather additional information on the relative numbers and size classes per species present in the lake" the release stated. "This information will be used to help determine the relative PCB biomass in the lake and the composition of the future fish community after cap placement."
The 26-acre lake is one of 25 areas outside the Housatonic River being evaluated for cleanup as part of the General Electric Pittsfield/Housatonic River PCB remediation project. GE plant discharges resulted in PCB contamination of the lake sediments.
|Silver Lake in Pittsfield, with the former GE plant in the background (EPA photo)|