Subsurface Enviromental Solutions

River sediment PAH evaluation

Grand Calument River
East Chicago, Indiana


The Grand Calumet River is a tributary located in Northwest Indiana, which flows to Lake Michigan. Years of industrial pollution caused by nearby steel mills, petro-chemical plants and oil refineries contaminated river sediments with oil and other pollutants. The primary contaminants of concern are carcinogenic Polyaromatic Hydrocarbons (PAHs).

As part of a sediment dredging/remediation project Sitelab Corporation (Sitelab) was hired to analyze 100 sediment samples collected from a post- dredge area covering a 1 mile stretch of river. Sitelab turned to SES to help analyze the data and develop graphics to display test results. SES evaluated the PAH data distribution and identified the presence of “hot- spots” falling well outside the more normally distributed data. Next, SES contoured the data using Golden Software’s “Surfer” software. SES created blanking files that followed the edge of the winding Grand Calumet River. Blanking files are used to eliminate data values calculated by Surfer for areas outside of the study area.

SES Value Added

  • Collaborated with Site-Lab Corporation to analyze the distribution of PAHs in river sediment
  • Performed complex grid-file blanking
  • Created river-sediment PAH contour maps


Steve Greason
Stantec Consulting Services
(978) 363-2299