This past winter, at the request of the South Carolina Department of Natural Resources (SCDNR) Law Enforcement Division, NCCOS scientists conducted a chemical assessment of a vessel for potential environmental contamination.
The 140-foot retired naval support vessel was purchased by a private citizen and has been in Bohicket Creek, a tributary of the North Edisto River, for roughly one year. There are no plans to move the vessel from this location, and SCDNR officials are concerned about the vessel’s potential to introduce chemical contamination to the creek.
Scientists from NCCOS’s Ecotoxicology Branch collected water samples in the vicinity of the vessel and analyzed the samples for polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs), a class of chemicals associated with fuels. PAH levels detected did not indicate any contamination associated with the vessel. The NCCOS team shared the results with SCDNR to assist with their management of the vessel.
The NCCOS Ecotoxicology Branch, located at the Hollings Marine Laboratory in Charleston, South Carolina, assesses the presence, fate, and effects of chemical contaminants in coastal ecosystems. The team’s research results support many federal legislative mandates that protect and conserve coastal ecosystems, including the Oil Pollution Act, the Endangered Species Act, the Coral Reef Conservation Act, and the Coastal Zone Management Act.