During the RACC High School Training Week, three teams visited the Pine Street Canal Superfund remediation site in Burlington. This site was heavily impacted by contaminants associated with nearby coal gasification plants during the first half of the twentieth century. The State became concerned about potential release of organic compounds into the canal and Lake Champlain if a proposed construction project were to take place. So, a large, multi-party effort was organized involving the 21 potentially responsible parties, the landowners, U.S. EPA, U.S. Fish and Wildlife, the State of Vermont, City of Burlington, and several local business, residential, and environmental groups.
High School teams were given a tour and description of the cleanup approach by Sonja Schuyler of the Johnson Company, which is the organization selected to oversee implementation of the remedy. Students were interested in learning more about sediment toxicity sampling and soil carbon content sampling that were instrumental to the remediation of the Pine Street site.
The teams also visited a RACC research laboratory in the Plant and Soil Sciences department of the University of Vermont. RACC undergraduate intern, Erin Buckley, demonstrated the techniques used in her research looking at the transformation of organic phosphorus and microbial phosphorus throughout the Missisquoi watershed. High School students will use what they learned during training week to implement a research project at their home institutions!