Synergistic Environmental Solutions, Inc.

PCBs, Data Quality and the Delaware Estuary PCB TMDLs

The Delaware Estuary has been the testing ground for interplay of complex regulatory, scientific and regulatory issues for decades.  The complexities of addressing the status, trends, and sources of PCB contamination in the Delaware Estuary was a far more complex issue that any of the stakeholders could have imagined in the mid 1990's.  In part this was driven by the ubiquitous nature of the PCBs, the many modes of transport and storage in the environment, and the fact that we had to track 209 compounds with various physical and toxicological characteristics.  In addition, understanding the movement of PCBs in the environment required collection of a significant amount of conventional environmental data from the same sampling events.  Finally, the program required analysis and resolution of PCB concentrations at single digit picogram/liter (10-15) concentrations.  


What began as a simple regulatory implementation, rapidly grew contentious, due to the lack of high quality data and the absence of data management practices and systems.  Key players from various stakeholder groups embraced the need for consensus standards to ensure that all data was collected, analyzed, reported and stored in accordance with the needs of the TMDL process.  The paper and presentations located on the right side of this page provide a summary of the issues addressed and the level of cooperation that was achieved.


The highest priority was placed on ensuring the quality and comparability of the data, based on the fact that the data collected in the first decade of the century would be the effective baseline for decades of future work.  Priority was also placed on collecting all of the data and meta data required to understand the results and storing it in a relational data file that could be shared with all stakeholders and could be readily evaluated by data analysis tools that would be developed in future decades. 

As we enter the second decade of the 21rst century, the stakeholders of the Delaware Estuary have a high quality data set that can be used to inform the decision making process as we move forward.  


Synergistic Environmental Solutions can help you to take much of the data related angst and contention out of your regulatory processes as well.  Please contact us if you need any additional information.

Recent work includes assisting municipal and industrial clients review and understand collected PCB data, track down significant sources, prepare annual reports and develop detailed procedures and protocols to allow site personnel or contractors  to accomplish work required under the DRBC/EPA Delaware Estuary PCB TMDL Program.