Planned harbor expansion and industrial developments may adversely affect the economically important aquatic resources of the lower Savannah River, including those at the Savannah National Wildlife Refuge. To establish the present level of chemical contamination in this system, we collected a total of 102 samples of nine species of fish and fiddler crabs (Uca pugilator) from eleven sites in the lower Savannah River and on the Savannah National Wildlife Refuge, and analyzed them for concentrations of organochlorine chemicals, aliphatic and aromatic petroleum hydrocarbons, and 13 elemental contaminants: aluminum, arsenic, cadmium, chromium, cobalt, copper, iron, lead, manganese, mercury, nickel, selenium, and zinc. Residues of DDT (mainly as DDE),trans-nonachlor, dieldrin, Aroclor? 1260, mirex, and petroleum hydrocarbons were common in fish from the lower Savannah River, but concentrations were below those warranting environmental concern. In general, the concentrations of elemental contaminants also were low; however, arsenic, cadmium, and chromium concentrations were elevated in fish from river stations near the city of Savannah, and lead was elevated in samples from the National Wildlife Refuge. Contamination of the lower Savannah River by organic and elemental contaminants, as indicated by concentrations in fishes and fiddler crabs, did not appear to pose a hazard.
Environmental contaminant concentrations in biota from the lower Savannah River, Georgia and South Carolina