Concentration of Metals in Remediated vs Non-Remediated Soils
East Helena, Montana was the site of a lead smelter, operated by ASARCO from 1888-2001, which became a source of heavy metal contamination that was dispersed through surface water, groundwater, soils, and air. The entire city of East Helena became an EPA Superfund site and cleanup of contaminated surface soils began in 2010. In many instances, topsoil was removed from yards and parks, and transported to treatment sites. Prickly Pear Land Trust (PPLT) has acquired several parcels of land and is making efforts to remediate the soil and eventually make it safe for public use. In particular, an 80-acre parcel north of Kennedy Park remained untreated. PPLT has begun remediation efforts using the method of turning soils in order to disperse contamination and reduce the concentration of heavy metals at the surface. This project will assess metals concentrations in surface soils in areas that were previously remediated, are currently undergoing remediation, and along Prickly Pear Creek where soils remain undisturbed. Soil samples from each of these surfaces will be analyzed using X-ray fluorescence spectroscopy (XRF). The data will provide heavy metal concentration in ppm and will be compared with each other as well as baseline surveys conducted before remediation actions. The results of this study will be presented as a map representing metals in surface soils across the study area, as well as comparisons with baseline and nearby remediated areas. This project will assist in overall restoration efforts and will help evaluate the success of remediation.