20 December, 2001
Our work is completed here and we are making preparations to leave McMurdo. We have a flight out at 1AM 12/21 (Friday morning). Last night, team member,Andrew Klein gave a talk for the McMurdo community on our project. He basically outlined the purpose, history and recent findings. Our preliminary conclusions this year have so far substantiated last years findings. Marine and terrestrial pollution does exist at McMurdo. The results for the marine environment are that E coli levels are relatively low. The EPA (Environmental Protection Agency) standards are 235 E coli colonies per 100 ml of water. The highest area at McMurdo tested at 168 colonies per 100 ml. So, if we are using E Coli as a measure of human contamination, there is little in Antarctic waters. However, as far as toxicity goes, the results are not as good. There is evidence of toxicity at Winter Quarters Bay, the landfill, and some at the sewage outfall. Most of it is near the landfill. Toxicity decreases the farther you are from the landfill. I should add that the landfill is no longer in use. It has not been a landfill for about 30 years. The toxicity we are seeing now is because of what was dumped then, not because of what we are doing now. On the land, contamination is also localized. Results show that PCBs, TPH, trace metals like lead, and other pollutants are found near oil tanks, fuel lines, and on the helo pad(where helicopters land and take off). Other areas tested seem to be free of these environmental contaminants. Samples are being shipped back to Texas A&M for further analysis. But, we suspect that the findings will not change dramatically. This information will be given to management at McMurdo who will use the information to make decisions about operations at McMurdo.
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