Below the surface
For over a century, the Jones & Lamson machine tool shop led Springfield in the Industrial Revolution, putting the entire area on the map as "Precision Valley" as inventors & workers designed and produced the tools that made the machines of industry and war.
At the J&L site, work is being done to excavate and remediate a variety of contaminants, including PCBs. The EPA has been monitoring the groundwater in this area for decades, since the plant (and neighboring factories) closed their doors in the 1980s.
One of the by-products of the machine tool industry was the leakage of various chemicals and waste products into the soil and groundwater -- sometimes solvents and other wastes were dumped directly into the river!
The goal of this project is to gather population data on the creatures that live in the "hyporheic zone" -- the microscopic spaces between soil particles -- where the groundwater seeps into the river. We buried colonization tubes (lower left photo) into the river bed at the toe of the bank where the abandoned J&L factory sits (lower right photo). We installed 2 tubes buried 100' upstream of the potentially contaminated area, and another 2 tubes buried 200' downstream of the contamination. Unfortunately, we discovered that the tubes were ineffective in enticing creatures to colonize, so we'll be attempting to pull out "pore water" with a special pump during the summer of 2016. Once we have a sense of what to expect to find living in the hyporheic zone, we can begin in 2017 to compare those results with findings at the contaminated area.
Partners on this project include:
Jim Kellogg, State of VT
Corrina Parnapy, aquatic biologist
Patty Collins, Reading Elem School
Chris Fishel, Watershed Assessment Assoc
Kris Stepenuck, U of Vermont
Erica Smith, Society for Freshwater Sciences
Beckman Institute, U of Illinois
So. Windsor Co. Regional Planning Comm
Springfield Regional Development Corp